Members' Research Service By / February 17, 2015

Eurasian Economic Union

Written by Ilze Eglite The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) was launched on 1 January 2015. The new economic bloc includes…

© Brad Pict / Fotolia
Written by Ilze Eglite
© Brad Pict / Fotolia

The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) was launched on 1 January 2015. The new economic bloc includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia with Kyrgyzstan expected to become a member in May 2015. It is Russia’s most ambitious attempt so far at the economic integration of the post-Soviet countries. The EEU is the third stage of economic integration. The Customs Union formed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2007, and the subsequent Common Economic Space in 2012, have already brought partial economic integration.

President Putin has stated his intention to partly model the EEU on the European Union (EU), which he considers a future partner, along with other key regional players such as the US and China. Conversely, some EU experts argue that the EEU is presented as Russia’s tug of war with the EU over their shared neighbourhood.


Eurasian Union: the real, the imaginary and the likely / Nicu Popescu, ISSEU Chaillot Paper, No132, September 2014, 48 p.
This Chaillot Paper examines Russia’s Eurasian project in detail. Is this a new twentyfirst century version of the Soviet Union? Or is it just a regional economic body like so many others? Is the Russian concept of Eurasia as a geopolitical entity viable?

EPRS: Regional organisations in the post-Soviet space / Russell Martin , At a glance , European Parliamentary Research Service, published on 16 January 2015

The Tumultuous Birth of the Eurasian Economic Union , Analysis, Stratfor, December 31, 2014


On the Eurasian Union and the European Union

The dialogue between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union: Brussels is ­desperately looking for “good news” in its relations with Russia / Arkady Moshes, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, December 2014, 2 p.
If the EU offers a formal dialogue to the Eurasian Economic Union, it is unlikely to lead to reciprocal economic liberalization, or reverse the general political dynamics in EU-Russia relations. Rather, just like the “Partnership for Russia’s Modernization” before it, this would become yet another stillborn undertaking.

Trade policy issues in the wider Europe – that led to war and not yet to peace , by Michael Emerson, CEPS Working Document No. 398, July 2014, 14 p.
This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries, and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Eurasian Union: a Challenge for the European Union and Eastern Partnership Countries / Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, Raimondas Ališauskas [], Public Institution Eastern Europe Studies Centre, December 2012, 54 p.
This analysis, carried out by authors from Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldova, reveals the concealed objectives behind the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union and covers the interplay between the integration of the Eurasian Union and the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

Towards a Eurasian Economic Union: The challenge of integration and unity / Steven Blockmans, Hrant Kostanyan, Ievgen Vorobiov, CEPS Special Report No.75, December 2012, 38 p.
Taking the data available for the early stages of the European integration process as a benchmark, the results point to a rather unfavourable outlook for Eurasian economic integration.

The Eurasian Customs Union: Friend or Foe of the EU? / Shumylo-Tapiola, Olga, The Carnegie Papers, October 2012, 38 p.
The author looks into the rationale of the Eurasian Customs Union and recommends that the European Union should attempt to engage on a technical level with the Customs Union.

Russia, the Eurasian Customs Union and the EU: Cooperation, Stagnation or Rivalry? / Rilka Dragneva, Kataryna Wolczuk, Chatham House, briefing paper, August 2012, 16 p.
The authors recommend that the EU revisit its ‘external governance’ approach to its Eastern neighbourhood in terms of short- and long-term opportunities and challenges.

On the Eurasian Union

The Eurasian Economic Union – more political, less economic , Aleksandra Jarosiewicz, Ewa Fischer, OSW Commentary, January 2015

Putin’s Eurasian Dream Is Over Before It Began , Foreign Policy, 6 January 201
The Eurasian Union that came into effect on Jan. 1 isn’t a sign of Moscow’s growing regional influence. It’s a sign of its decline.

After Ukraine, Putin’s Eurasian Union Could Be Dead on Arrival , World Politics Review, Richard Weitz, 6 January 2015

Eurasian Disunion : Why the Union Might Not Survive 2015 / Nate Schenkkan, Foreign Affairs, December 2014

Die Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion : Analysen und Perspektiven aus Belarus, Kasachstan und Russland / Felix Hett, Susanne Szkola, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2014, 19 p.

Putin’s grand strategy: the Eurasian Union and its discontents / S. Frederick Starr, Svante E. Cornell, In: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, BOOK, September 2014, 203 p.

The Eurasian Economic Union: Breaking the pattern of post-Soviet integration? / Sean Roberts, Anaïs Marin, Arkady Moshes, Katri Pynnöniemi, FIIA ANALYSIS 3, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, September 2014, 20 p.

Russia’s “pivot” to Eurasia / edit. Liik Kadri, ECFR, May 2014, 118 p.
Ten prominent Russian experts essay collection.

Russian Analytical Digest No. 146: Eurasian Union / Arkady Moshes, David Lane, Matthew Frear, Aida Abzhaparova, Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)146, April 2014, 18 p.

The Birth of Eurasiaskepticism / Evgeny Vinokurov, Russia in Global Affairs, March 2014

The Eurasian Customs Union : The economics and the politics

The Eurasian Union : An Integration Project under the Microscope / Canan Atilgan [], KAS International Reports, February 2014, 41 p.
The success of the project is not guaranteed.

Die Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion: Ist Russland auf dem Vormarsch im GUS-Raum? / Velina Tchakarova, AIES Fokus 1/2013, November 2013, 4 p.
Russland feiert seine Rückkehr in die direkte Nachbarschaft, nachdem Moskau mit seinem neuen Projekt einer Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion die wirtschaftliche Integration im Raum der Gemeinschaft der Unabhängigen Staaten (GUS) wiederbelebt hat.

Putin’s Eurasian Union- from pre-electoral sideshow to quest for empire / Oskanian, Kevork, Foreign Policy Centre, FPC Briefing, July 2013, 9 p.
This article shows the limits of the Eurasian Union as an opportunity to expand Russia’s influence over its ‘near abroad’.

Eurasian integration. Russia’s attempt at the economic unification of the Post-Soviet area / Wiśniewska, Iwona, Centre for Eastern Studies, OSW Studies No.44, July 2013, 41 p.
This paper sums up the progress which has so far been made in implementing the integration initiative of Eurasian Union announced by Vladimir Putin in 2009.

Putin’s ‘Eurasian Union’: Russia’s Integration Project and Policies on Post-Soviet Space / Adomeit, Hannes, CIES Neighbourhood Policy Papers 4, July 2012, 13 p.
The author suggests that the Eurasian Union project is connected with Russia’s tug of war with the European Union regarding the common neighbourhood.

The Eurasian Union Project / Katharina Hoffmann, Gennady Chufrin, Marlène Laruelle, Russian Analytical Digest No.112, April 2012, 16 p.
In this issue of the Russian Analytical Digest the authors examine regional integration in the CIS in the light of the debate about Putin’s proposal to create the Eurasian Union.

Russia’s Eurasian Union: A Bid for Hegemony? / Georgiy Voloshi, Geopolitical Monitor, September 2012, 5 p.
The author examines the motivations underpinning Russia’s push to establish the Eurasian Union.

Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian Union: A New Integration Project for the CIS Region? / Halbach, Uwe, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP Comments, January 2012, 4 p.
The author argues that the objective of Putin’s statement to create Eurasian Union was not to re-establish the Soviet Union, but rather to create a ‘powerful supra-national union’ of sovereign states.

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions’ views
European Commission

EU-Ukraine: there is no time to rest , Commissioner Füle, 16 September 2014
“Whether some of you call the Eurasian Economic Union a project of Putin, this union is a matter of reality. It is not only about Russia, it is also about Belarus, Kazakhstan and very soon also about Armenia, having their own views on our Association Agreement with Ukraine and its impact on their countries, and their views on cooperation with the EU. We all not only benefit but we all will be able to eliminate the danger of creating dividing lines if we start to work together. Because if we miss the element of undermining the importance of the regulatory framework then just by ignoring the Eurasian Economic Union we will be the ones contributing to creating the diving lines in Europe. I believe this should be a part of the much bigger picture where all the important initiatives and steps are being put together.”

Answer given by Commissioner Füle on behalf of the Commission, Future of relations between the European Union, Ukraine and the Eurasian Customs Union , 21 August 2013
“As regards the EU’s relations with the Eurasian Union the EU welcomes regional economic integration schemes as long as they fully comply with WTO rules, do not create trade barriers, and are open for countries to join as a result of an autonomous choice… ”

European Parliament

EP texts adopted

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ukraine and the state of play of EU-Russia relations , of 18 September 2014, 2014/2841(RSP)
“37. .. believes, furthermore, that the Commission should explore the modalities of EU cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union;”

European Parliament resolution on the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the CFSP , of 24 October 2013, 2013/2081(INI)
“37. Criticises Russia’s use, in violation of international norms (e.g. the Helsinki Accords), of the instruments of energy and trade policy to pressure countries in the European neighbourhood so as to compel them to join the Russia-led customs union instead of signing Association Agreements with the EU, thereby hindering their sovereign decisions;”

European Parliament resolution on the pressure exerted by Russia on Eastern Partnership countries (in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius), 12 Septemebr 2013, 2013/2826(RSP)

Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary questions on the EEU

National views

Russia – Member State

A new project for Eurasia: The future in the making / Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Izvestia, 3 October 2011
In this much-cited pre-electoral newspaper article, Putin proposed the creation of a powerful economic block known as the Eurasian Union.

Opinion: Spiritual Values to Cement the Eurasian Union / Pavel Salin, Russia in Global Affairs, October 2013
The author argues that in addition to purely economic arguments, the Eurasian Union requires also some ideological basis.

Opinion: Pragmatic Eurasianism / Evgeny Vinokurov, Russia in Global Affairs, June 2013
Eurasia is not the same as the post-Soviet space, and its borders cannot be regarded as fixed once and for all by the Soviet past.

Website: The Eurasian Economic Community (Евразийское экономическое сообщество (ЕврАзЭС)), established in 2000.

Webiste: The Eurasian Economic Commission (Евразийская экономическая комиссия (ЕЭК)), a governing body of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, operational since February 2012.

Interview: Russia calls for EU talks with newly born Eurasian Union , By Andrew Rettman, EUObserver, January 2015

Analyses on Eurasian integration: Centre for Integration Studies of the Eurasian Development Bank

Belarus – Member State

Economists have estimated benefits of the Common Economic Space for Belarus , press article, in Russian, Eurasian Development Bank, 24 Janaury 2012

Kazakhstan – Member State

Assessment of Costs and Benefits of the Customs Union for Kazakhstan , report, World Bank, April 2012
Kazakhstan and Eurasian Economic Integration: Quick Start, Mixed Results and Uncertain Future / Nargis KASSENOVA, IFRI Russie.Nei.Reports, No.14, November 2012 , 31 p.

Armenia – Member State

Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union: The view from Yerevan , ECFR Commentary, Richard Giragosian, 8 January, 2015


Kyrgyzstan Draws Closer to Eurasian Union Amid Crisis in Russia , The Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume, January 9, 2015


Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili doesn’t Rule Out Eurasian Union / interview, Radio Free Europe, 9 Septemebr 2013


Dialogue with the Eurasian Union on Ukraine – an opportunity or a trap? / Adam Eberhardt, OSW Commentary, December 2014, 5 p.
The prospects of any constructive dia­logue about European economic integra­tion between the EU and the EEU are cur­rently non-existent. The European conflict triggered by Russia is strictly political in nature, and the alleged contradictions of economic interests are a mere excuse.
Ukraine signed a memorandum on closer cooperation with the Customs Union (CU) / Oxford Analytica, 13 August 2013


Russia and the U.S. Spar Over Eurasian Union / Stratfor, December 2012
Russia’s Eurasian Union Could Endanger the Neighborhood and U.S. Interests / Cohen, Ariel, The Heritage Foundation, 14 June 2013, 13 p.


Russias attempts at economic integration in the CIS region

The official website of the Eurasian Economic Union

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