Membership Treaty Signed: Armenia formally accedes to Eurasian Economic Union

Armenia on Friday put its signature to a treaty under which it becomes a member of the emerging Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The EEU that currently includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be formally launched on January 1, 2015 and will, among other things, imply a common customs space and free movement of goods, services, capitals and labor in the territory of the member nations.

Before signing the treaty Armenian officials said exemptions on a range of goods had been given to Yerevan to gradually, over years, adjust some of its customs duties to the common standards of the EEU. They said that the measure would help the country to have the benefits, while avoiding losses conditioned by membership in the Russian-led trade bloc.

Attending the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s summit in Minsk, Belarus, President Sargsyan expressed a hope that despite the specifics of Armenia’s membership, namely the absence of a common border with the other members of the Union, the South Caucasus nation’s integration will prove effective.

The Armenian head of state acknowledged that the negotiations on the country’s entry were not easy. But he stressed that they managed to achieve the result due to “the political will and professionalism” of the parties involved.

One of the issues that emerged during the talks regarded the borders within which Armenia enters the Union.

Still in May, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev raised the issue of Armenia’s admittance to the EEU within its internationally recognized borders, i.e. without Nagorno-Karabakh. This led to speculation that customs houses would have to be installed at the Armenian border with Nagorno-Karabakh. In their public statements, howeve, Armenian officials have all along ruled out such a scenario.

Speaking at the Minsk summit Nazarbayev again referred to the matter, saying that there was no obstacle to Armenia’s entry into the EEU anymore.

Among those attending the meeting chaired by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was also Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the summit Kyrgyzstan also expressed a hope to complete its membership process by the time the EEU is formally launched.