Prime Minister: “Based on non-discriminatory principles, the single energy market should become a pillar for EAEU integration”
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan participated in a regular meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council held via video conference.
The meeting was attended by RF President Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Moldova Igor Dodon (head of the EAEU observer state) and Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The Prime Minister of Armenia greeted the participants of the conference and noted that at the latest meeting he talked about his government’s response to the pandemic and the steps aimed at mitigating its socio-economic consequences. Nikol Pashinyan said the stage of strict restrictive measures is nearly complete in our country, and the Government has been abiding by a decentralized strategy since May 4.
“Yesterday all restrictions on almost all types of economic activity have been lifted in Armenia. However, restrictions in the fields of education, culture, entertainment, recreation and public events have been preserved. The public sector works in a hybrid way, combining office and remote work. Thus, at this stage, we have completely abolished quarantine. And this, of course, has led to some growth in new coronavirus cases. However, despite the abolition of quarantine, strict social and economic security rules have been introduced - protocols and regulations have been approved, which are mandatory for all citizens, business entities and government agencies.
The concept of strict restrictive measures has been substituted with the concept of strict norms and rules of behavior. Its effectiveness, of course, will depend on the degree of responsibility of society, as a whole.
During the quarantine period, we were able to take all necessary measures to upgrade the healthcare system’s overall capacity. Over the next two weeks, we will conduct permanent monitoring of the situation. We hope that there will be no need to revert to strict quarantine measures. We believe that conditions will be created for full functioning of the economy and social activities in general.
In parallel, the government adopted a package of measures to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the quarantine regime and the growing economic crisis. In addition to the social component, those measures sought to provide conditions for economic recovery and development in the post-crisis period.
We also managed to organize effective control in the retail sector, avoid the shortage of goods and prevent a drastic rise in consumer prices. Thanks to the Central Bank’s operational intervention, sharp fluctuations in the financial markets were suppressed and the national currency exchange rate was maintained.
I have repeatedly noted that amid the pandemic and the growing recession, we attach particular importance to the development of our cooperation. I am more than confident that we must strengthen our Union and improve the fundamental institutions of integration.
We must prove their viability in times of crisis and be ready to share all economic opportunities that will obviously emerge in the post-crisis period. In this context, the strategic directions of Eurasian integration until 2025 are of particular importance. We are convinced that the areas of cooperation outlined in this document will help raise the Union’s investment and innovative attractiveness, increase its competitiveness, scientific and production potential.
In the context of the global economic challenges we are facing today, the need for the earliest possible formation of a common gas market for Armenia is especially acute. It was just as I mentioned that a single energy market with non-discriminatory principles of functioning should become one of the pillars of our integration. Otherwise, there can be no qualitative progress in integration processes and it will be impossible to achieve equal conditions of economic activity for all participants in the Union.
We proceed from the fact that the “Strategic Directions for the Development of Eurasian Integration until 2025” should fix the principle of applying common approaches to pricing and tariff setting on the EAEU common gas market, including uniform tariffs for services provided by a natural monopoly entity during transportation and gas transit.
Our Union should strive to achieve this goal step by step, which will create favorable conditions for a qualitatively deeper economic integration within the Union.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate us all on the 75th anniversary of our victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our people hold this day sacred, and we do our best to ensure that generations remember the feat of our fathers and grandfathers.
In their respective statements, the leaders of EAEU-member states referred to the steps aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the possible ways of ensuring economic development in the current situation and the joint effort to deal with the emerging challenges.
The Strategic Directions for the Development of Eurasian Integration until 2025 were approved in general. It was agreed that the discussion of individual provisions of the document will continue in order to finalize it taking into account the member states’ proposals.