Belarus in Eurasian Integration
One of the stages of Eurasian integration is the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on the basis of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space (SES). The Eurasian Economic Union Treaty was signed by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and
Integration of the New Type
The distribution of functions between national and supranational bodies in the Eurasian Economic Union has not been agreed upon yet. The experience of other countries suggests that in order to attain a higher level of integration, member states need to transfer some of their functions to a supranational body. At the same time, member states strive to retain their national sovereignty. Even in the EU where the supranational bodies are fully operational, politicians and scholars are still cautious about them: instead of the term “transfer of part of national sovereign rights to the supranational bodies”, they often use the term “shared sovereignty”.
The Eurasian Economic Union is expected to embody an absolutely new type of integration of postSoviet states that share common history, language, culture, and mentality. Political sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member states will remain intact. The partners will be absolutely equal, with no one dominating over others. Taking into consideration that some decisions might disagree with national interests of some partners, each member state should be able to have the right to veto them.
Eurasian integration has two constituent parts: horizontal integration and vertical integration.
Horizontal integration is about the uniform economic environment regulated by the common legal framework (free movement of goods, financial resources and workforce within the common territory, uniform trade tariffs, competition principles and rules, terms of access to public procurement contracts and services of natural monopolies).
Horizontal integration has translated into the establishment of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space. This type of integration does not threaten the sovereignty of the member states, because it serves as a background where universal rules of the game are developed. In line with the agreements, supranational bodies protect and promote common interests of the member states on the international arena and act as an arbitrator when disputes arise between participants of an integration project.
If existing restrictions and exemptions are removed within the Single Economic Space, the benefits of horizontal integration will become obvious for all the member states. Belarus’ major objectives are an unobstructed access to the markets of Russia and Kazakhstan and the ability to import raw materials at domestic prices of these states.
Vertical integration, unlike the horizontal one, implies the formation of supranational bodies that will assume the functions of a central authority. They will pursue a common policy across various economic sectors. This will lead to the partial loss of sovereignty of the member states.
Taking into account that the economic potential of Russia is incomparable with that of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia, there are objective reasons why Russia is interested in vertical integration. In fact, Russia nurtures the ambitions to increase its role in the global politics and economy as the core of a regional grouping. Considering different economic potentials of the member states, Russia’s interests will always prevail when it will come to the key points of the EEU economic policy.
Besides, the analysis of the operation of the Eurasian Economic Commission suggests that individual initiatives of the supranational