Putin calls for Eurasian union

MOSCOW -- A customs union and a common economic space established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will underlie a future Eurasian union, Russian PM Vladimir Putin says.

Vladimir Putin (FoNet, file)
Vladimir Putin (FoNet, file)

“The prospective union will not be a new U.S.S.R. or a replacement for the CIS, but an effective link between Europe and the Asia Pacific region, an association with close coordination of the economic and currency policies,” Putin wrote in an article for Moscow-based daily Izvestiya.

"The establishment of a customs union and common economic space lays the foundation for a future Eurasian economic union," he stressed. "We set ourselves an ambitious task: to reach a higher integration level."

"It is an open project," the prime minister said, adding that "other partners are welcome to join it."

The CIS, a loose association of former Soviet republics, consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS Charter but participates in its activities.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia formed their own Customs Union earlier this year, scrapping interstate customs tariffs.