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Leonid Slutsky, member of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on the Information Policy
Last year, we have started to work hard to come up together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, first of all, of course, with our fellow parliamentarians, with the establishment of the parliamentary dimension of the Eurasian integration processes.
For ourselves, we talked about the Eurasian Interparliamentary Assembly.
The Eurasian Interparliamentary Assembly was included in the draft agreement on the reorganization of the EurAsEC.
As we all know, EurAsEC fulfilled its historic function. In the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community the Eurasian Economic Commission is functioning.
But last year, we could talk about the transformation of the Eurasian Economic Community into a full Eurasian Economic Union, so far only formally, similar to Maastricht in 1991.
The question is what to do here with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan which are among the five EAEC countries but are not part of the CU or the CES, and there are a number of other issues that are currently also the subject of healthy and in-depth discussions in the space of the Customs Union, including at the level of parliamentary diplomacy.
The EAEC still survived, like its Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, even though the meetings take place just once a year.
And, of course, the question of creating a parliamentary dimension of the Eurasian integration and future Eurasian Union is a purely schematic and not declarative matter.
We have today 17 basic agreements at the heart of the CES, and Viktor Khristenko, head of the Eurasian Economic Commission, promised us that by 2014 their number will increase to almost 60.
Their ratification is required, and it should preferably be synchronous, in the parliaments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. We need to manage this activity.
We need to develop model laws. Due to the fact that our IPA works extremely discretely, model bills cannot be developed on its base.
So today there is something to do not for the Eurasian Parliament but for the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.
Of course, the parliamentary dimension of the Eurasian Union will be set up a little earlier or a little later.
What is the difference between the Eurasian IPA and the full parliament?
Like to the European Parliament, there will be direct elections to the Eurasian parliament from across the Eurasian Union - Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, maybe some other countries.
I hope that we will be witnesses to it, but probably this will take at least a few years.
The Eurasian IPA can combine delegations from the parliaments of the three countries - members of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, like their current work in any inter-parliamentary organizations, whether the Parliamentary Assembly of the Nordic countries, or the CSTO, or the OSCE.
Today, by the way, the question of the parliamentary dimension is increasingly heard on the site of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Thus, the Eurasian Economic Union as a powerful regional bloc that is created for a long time and will serve as a binder, according to the idea of its founders, between the European and Asia-Pacific regions, if you allow me to say so, areas of economic development, of course, must have its parliamentary dimension.
All the questions of the Eurasian Union are complex. Today we are working on a comprehensive agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union.
The work is not easy. There are certain things where so far there is a difference in understanding - for example, between Moscow and Astana, to a lesser extent between Moscow and Minsk.
These are matters not only of the Eurasian Union. I would mention passport and visa issues of identification, the joint protection of the external borders, export controls, and some others, which, along with the creation of the parliamentary dimension of the Eurasian Union, are fundamental to the future treaty, which we expect to be signed sometime in the middle of next year, so that by January 1, 2015, its ratification in three states could be completed, and by January 1, 2015, as expected, the agreement could enter into force in the territory of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
Thus, we will create the Eurasian Economic Union.