YEREVAN, September 12. / ARKA /. Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union must be preceded by drawing up a roadmap that will take into account its political and economic realities and will give also an answer to a question what it will gain from its membership, Alexander Markarov, director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, said today during a Yerevan-Moscow video conference.
"Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union has caused positive emotions and the need for critical reflection on this issue by taking into account the objective political and economic situation in Armenia,” said Makarov.
According to him, one should take into account such factors as lack of common borders between Armenia and a Customs Union member country, energy policies and also the fact that Armenia had sought close integration with EU.
Makarov added that the decision to join the Customs Union is political adopted in view of a hierarchy of priorities that include also elements of economic cooperation.
This view was shared by the director of the Caucasus Institute, political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan, who said not everything is so simple with the Customs Union as it may seem.
“The decisions taken in Moscow are political and I'm afraid they have no alternatives. To ensure that they crystallize into a specific interaction between Armenia and Russia within the framework of the Customs Union there should be a process of harmonization," Iskandaryan said.
He said the Customs Union is a fairly large number of agreements on tariff regulations, borders, movement of goods, with a pretty large number of different exceptions. The Customs Union, in his opinion, was designed for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, which all are quite different from Armenia : with Russia and Kazakhstan being oil-producing and exporting countries, while Armenia imports energy resources.
"The union must develop agreements that would be acceptable for Armenia. It is of course a technical or bureaucratic way, as the political decision was made and announced by presidents, and as I understand it, Armenia will soon be formally invited to join the Customs Union , however, it will take some time and some reconciliation work," he stressed.
Alexander Skalkov from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences emphasized that there is no roadmap yet and it is not clear when it may be worked out. He argued that no road map was worked out for Armenia either to sign the association agreement with EU.
"I can only express hope that this roadmap will appear after all and that it will take into account the interests of all the members of the Customs Union and Armenia and that in future the focus will shift from politics to economy," he said. -0-