The Eurasian Economic Union:
Breaking the pattern of post-Soviet integration?
Sean Roberts, Anaïs Marin, Arkady Moshes, Katri Pynnöniemi
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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Eurasian Economic Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia consolidates a
market of 170 million people with a combined GDP of almost 3 trillion US
dollars. On paper, this union has the potential to transform economic relations
in the region and to offer an alternative to the EU in the post-Soviet space.
which comes into effect from January 2015, marks the latest achievement in the
current ‘intensive phase’ of integration, which has seen the creation of a
Eurasian Customs Union (2010), a Single Economic Space (2012) and a Eurasian
Economic Commission (2012), all intended to facilitate the four economic
freedoms – the free movement of goods, people, services and capital. Expanding
the Union is also seen as a priority, with Armenia set to join the Customs
Union and Kyrgyzstan already at an advanced stage of negotiation.
despite early successes, further deepening and widening of the Union are
fraught with difficulties and the pace of integration will inevitably slow, as
member states come to terms with the commitments they have made. Plans to
deepen the Union have encountered a number of implementation issues leading to
multi-speed integration from the outset. Likewise, plans to expand the Union
have revealed a creeping politicisation that threatens to undermine the ‘economic
only’ nature of this integration project.
importantly, the latest phase of post-Soviet integration shows strong signs
that the older problems of weak institutions and large asymmetry between member
states are continuing to hinder closer ties. Taken together, and against the
backdrop of an increasingly hostile international environment that has
accompanied the crisis in Ukraine, the Eurasian Economic Union faces an uphill
struggle to maintain momentum and deliver the results member states desire.