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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.

Kofner J. (2019) Connecting Eurasia Dialogue. IIASA. Laxenburg. – 10 p.


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.

The event was organized by the Roscongress Foundation and the Conoscere Eurasia Association, with the support of the Association of European Businesses and the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

Main conclusions:

  • 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”.





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