Eurasian Economic Integration: Between Absolute and Relative Benefits
A collision of interests is always part of any integration process, growing more dramatic and multidimensional the more comprehensive an integration endeavour becomes. This is particularly clear from the record of the most advanced integration project in history, the European Union, which saw periods of ‘eurosclerosis’, direct sabotage by member countries (e.g. a six-month boycott of the European Commission in 1965–1966 by France), and the failures of the constitutional referendum in the Netherlands and France in May 2005. The main fork in the road for Eurasian integration today is the lack of convenient ‘integration scales’: a deeper integration implies more heated conflicts, and it becomes more difficult to gauge the effects of integration decision-making. However, the main advantage of the existing situation is that it is natural.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is in many respects a unique project as it has been created by means other than ‘iron and blood’. Eurasian integration is an example of a rational choice in favour of an advanced intergovernmental cooperation aimed to strengthen national sovereignty.
Therefore, the formation and further promotion of the Eurasian integration is voluntary, rational, and economically motivated cooperation between sovereign states. This is the only scientific framework and political reality for the Eurasian integration to be examined.
The main purpose of the integration is to contribute to the strengthening of the member states’ national sovereignty.
Eurasian economic integration is a process that did not emerge all at once, nor did it come into being as a consequence of a political decision related to some external or internal circumstances. Despite an upcoming milestone – the fi fth anniversary of the EAEU Treaty (to be marked in 2019) – it would be a distortion to reduce analysis of Eurasian integration to this alone.
The EAEU is based on a comprehensive effort to promote the cooperation and co-development agenda in the Eurasian space. This work began 25 years ago and has consistently embraced ever new lines in cooperation.