YEREVAN, October 18. /ARKA/. The Customs Union is an economic, not imperial project, Vladimir Lepekhin, the director of the Eurasian Economic Community Institute and a member of the Eurasian Economic Integration Bureau of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Friday in Novosti International Press Center in Yerevan.
“The Customs Union is not an important geopolitical, much less imperial project - the aim of this alliance is to optimize trade turnover among this union member countries,” he was quoted by Novosti-Armenia.
Lepekhin said that the reason why the Customs Union has stoked a lot of discourse is that in the West it was perceived as a geopolitical project putting before former Soviet republics a dilemma to choose between cooperation with the European Union or the Customs Union.
“Russia has never put the issue this way though it has been accused of it by western countries… Quite the opposite – Russia has always put the emphasis on optimization of economic relations saying that this doesn’t close doors to Europe,” he said.
He also stressed that Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union will be in tune with its long-term interests.
In early September, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, made a joint statement, according to which Armenia has decided to join the Customs Union and to take part in formation of the Eurasian Union in the future.
The announcement came as Armenia was poised to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union aimed at making European Union’s ties with Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova and Georgia closer. ---0----