15 Oct 2010 19:28

Common economic space being built faster than planned

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) - The establishment of the common economic space in the customs union by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is proceeding faster than was previously expected, said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"The common economic space project is being actively put into practice. Along with our Belarusian and Kazakh partners, we decided to step up preparations for launching this mechanism and form the necessary legal basis until January 1, 2011, rather than at two stages, as was planned earlier," Putin said at a press conference following a session of the Belarusian-Russian council of ministers and a meeting between the prime ministers of the customs union members on Friday.

"Seventeen draft agreements are on the negotiating table, and most of them have either been agreed upon or are about to be ready. As for the rest of the documents, we are holding substantive and constructive discussions on them, with leading experts and specialists involved," Putin said.

"Sure, there are objective difficulties on this way, but what is important is that we have the same ultimate goal, and we plan to move toward it together. And this movement is proceeding faster than one could have even expected," he said.

"We have been seeking and finding mutually acceptable solutions in a businesslike manner and reaching particular agreements in short periods of time," he said.

"The next goal is to reach a higher level of integration and form legal foundations of the common economic space in 2010-2011. The other of our EurAsEC [Eurasian Economic Community] partners will join it as soon as they are prepared: Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are already displaying their interest, and some elements look appealing to our Ukrainian partners. We will discuss this process with them as well," Putin said.