The Eurasian Economic Union, the world’s newest economic club, is five times larger than the EU, covering 15 percent of the earth’s land surface. Members consist of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and soon Kyrgyzstan. But as the economic crisis in Russia grows, some experts have wondered just how close these countries want to get. CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reported this story from Washington, D.C.
Established in 2014, founding members Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan hoped to create a vast free trade zone.
Newly established Eurasian Economic Union hopes to compete with EUThe Eurasian Economic Union, the world's newest economic club, is five times larger than the EU, covering 15 percent of the earth's land surface. Members consist of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and soon Kyrgyzstan. But as the economic crisis in Russia grows, some experts have wondered just how close these countries want to get. CCTV America's Owen Fairclough reported this story from Washington, D.C.
“The agreement signed really has epoch-making historic significance,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It opens opportunities for our economic development and for boosting our people’s well-being.”
Russia hopes the integration and pooling of lucrative resources, such as gas and oil, will one day culminate in a single currency such as the European Union’s Euro.
That may prove difficult now that the value of the Russian rouble has collapsed following economic sanctions by the West for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Even Russia’s close ally Belarus isn’t prepared to give up its own rouble.
“It was just recently that our president stated that we don’t want our national currency to be devalued, and we don’t want our people to go to banks and exchange whatever amount of Belarussian roubles they have into US dollars or Euros,” Pavel Shidlovsky, Head of Belarussian Embassy to the U.S. said. “If people want stability and if people want to be safe and their currency protected, they should just stay where they are with their currency with their bank deposits.”
Many still question whether it would be beneficial to join. In Moldova, the government wants to join the European Union, while an autonomous region within Moldova that is supported by Moscow wants to join the Eurasian Economic Union.
Civil conflict in neighboring Ukraine that involved Kremlin-supported forces makes pro-European Moldovans fearful.
“As we see right now, Russia is present in Moldova with its troops, military troops. And in Ukraine we saw this year and last year what they are able to do,” Moldovan Foundation President Vlad Spanu said. “Therefore, who wants to be part of a club when you can be beaten by the stronger member of the club?”
The combined gross domestic product of the EEU is a lot less than countries such as the U.S. or China, but this new group has financial clout and plans to redraw the economic map of a vast region.