As part of an IIASA project on Eurasian economic integration, IIASA researcher Yuri Kofner was invited to write a discussion paper as a contribution to a high-level dialogue involving global leaders from academia, governments, and business.
The event Connecting Eurasia: From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean brought together international stakeholders to discuss trade and development of the European and Asian markets. The meeting focused on a variety of pressing issues, such as challenges and opportunities of Europe’s engagement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the harmonization of soft infrastructure to enhance trans-Eurasian connectivity, and the EAEU’s single pharmaceutical market.
- An alternative to further non-engagement between the EU and the EAEU could be the initiation of a dialogue based on the spirit of German Ostpolitik of the 60s and 70s – Wandel durch Annäherung (Change through Rapprochement).
- Bottom-up trust-building through enhanced dialogue across business and expert communities is needed, complemented by continued technical-level talks between the European Commission and the Eurasian Economic Commission. Informal but systematic meetings could cover four practical issues: i) alignment of technical regulations and standards; ii) mutual facilitation of customs procedures and creation of “green transit corridors” between Europe and China through countries of the EAEU; iii) coordination of digital agendas; and iv) a coordinated stance toward China’s Belt and Road Initiative. If successful, this would lay the foundation for shifting the dialogue to a higher level.
- Enhanced coordination in the area of soft infrastructure would foster adoption of the EU regulations and standards on investment, labor, environment, and other areas as a model for a common connectivity framework with the rest of Eurasia, which has proven to be effective in supporting business and welfare of citizens.
For more information visit “Connecting Eurasia Dialogue: From the Atlantic to the Pacific”.
Author : Kofner