The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, deputy prime ministers Alexander Novak and Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak, presidential aides Maxim Oreshkin and Yury Ushakov, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Energy Nikolai Shulginov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina and Chairman of the State Development Corporation VEB.RF Igor Shuvalov.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
First of all, I would like to ask those of you who have taken Epiphany dips if everything is alright with you. Are you in good health and working? Thank God.
Our meeting today will be devoted to a strategically important, priority subject, the development of integration processes. The key role in this sphere is, of course, being played by the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which we established with our partners six years ago.
Since then, we have achieved a great deal despite the complicated international situation. For example, in 2019, mutual trade between EAEU member states increased by 35 percent compared to 2015, reaching $61.6 billion. Contrary to some forecasts, the share of EAEU states in Russia’s foreign trade has increased as well, from 7.8 percent in 2015 to 8.6 percent in 2020. EAEU states’ foreign trade is developing consistently and has increased by 27 percent.
This upward trend has been achieved largely thanks to our joint efforts aimed at removing obstacles to the movement of goods, services, capital and the workforce between the EAEU states. Common markets have been created and are working successfully in the majority of economic sectors. Movement towards this objective, efforts to settle concrete problems and the search for the best possible solutions are ongoing in the other sectors.
The formation of a common market in such a sensitive and socially important economic sector as the production and trade of medications and medical goods is an example of such a successful compromise and the elaboration of common approaches by the Union members. Since January 1, 2021, the registration of all medications in the EAEU countries has to follow the same rules and procedures. This is extremely important now, as we are well aware, when we are facing a common challenge – the coronavirus pandemic – and must effectively coordinate our efforts to protect the life and health of our people.
The Union is consistently expanding its common market of services. It already includes 53 sectors and will embrace another five areas this year.
I would also like to note that the Union countries have endorsed a concept on forming an EAEU common financial market. Preparations are underway for creating a common electricity market. We have embarked on implementing the programme for establishing common markets of gas, oil and petroleum products. This is a complicated issue.
However, it is also obvious that the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences have affected the state of affairs in the economy and the social sphere of our states as a whole. We must take all this into account. The gross domestic product, industrial production and trade have gone down. This decline has affected, and, unfortunately, was bound to affect, the labour market as well. Now it is important to use the integration mechanisms to restore business activity and increase employment and, hence, people’s incomes.
In this context, a month ago we discussed with our EAEU colleagues what could be done to improve the situation and ensure sustainable economic growth. We approved the strategy for developing Eurasian integration up to 2025, which provides for completing the formation by that time of the Union’s common markets of goods, services, capital and workforce, as well as a single digital space that I consider very important under the circumstances.
I would like to mention that these goals will be also pursued by the presidency of the Union that Kazakhstan assumed on January 1, 2021. We fully support such priorities of our colleagues.
Let us start the discussion of the most urgent aspects of our integration development in the Eurasian space, including their effective coordination with the plans and work of the Government of the Russian Federation on reaching the national development goals.