Will the Eurasian Economic Union become the new EU?
In 2014, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a treaty that implemented an ‘Eurasian Economic Union’ (EAEU) between the three countries, which was enforced in 2015. From its inception, the EAEU already had ambitions of expansion to other countries such as Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, which were accepted after the EAEU’s enforcement in 2015.
Following from this, with Brexit being a hot topic at present and the eerie suggestion of the dismantling of the European Union lingering among political corridors – can it be plausibly suggested that the EAEU, with its rapid expansion, will be the new EU?
Picture the scene – post-Brexit Britain leaves the EU on thin ice financially; suddenly another crisis arises and before you can say the word ‘Brussels’, the entire EU is on the brink of extinction. EU member states start panicking, searching for a life raft from the sinking ship that once promised unification and prosperity for Europe. So, what will be waiting in the dark corner to relieve the burdened ex-EU nations from their existential crisis once the EU dismantles entirely? The EU’s structural counterpart – the EAEU.
Like the foundations of the EU, the EAEU aims to form a monetary, political, military and economic union, in which although the EAEU only has the latter at present, there are still prospects for a single currency and greater expansion and integration between its member states. Furthermore, also like the EU, the EAEU operates through various supranational and intergovernmental bodies such as the ‘Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’, the ‘Eurasian Economic Commission’ and the ‘Court of the EAEU’.
Regarding expansion, since its birth two years ago, the EAEU has already discussed or set up Free Trade zone agreements with various global countries such as Turkey, Israel, Iran, Egypt and China, in which to date the EAEU has an integrated single market of 183 million people, with a GDP of over 4 trillion USD.
Therefore, it may be questioned; with tensions already present between the EU and EAEU regarding the joint desire to deepen ties with former Soviet Republic’s, how soon will it be following from the finalising of Brexit Britain before the ‘Eurasian dream’ becomes a reality?
For instance, if the EU were to eventually dismantle, then it could be predicted that several Eastern European EU member countries could easily be swayed to the EAEU, such as; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania – to name but a few. Furthermore, if bigger powers such as Turkey and Iran were to integrate further into the EAEU, then the ‘Eurasian dream’ could become a realistic force to be reckoned with – implemented on a greater global scale than the EU could have ever fathomed.
So, how is the West to prepare for the ‘new’ EU of the East, given the unsteady outcome of post-Brexit Britain? Can NATO and the United Nations function on the same scale as the ever growing EAEU? Only time will tell which way the political winds shall sway the eventual outcome of global politics.
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Author: Portia Vincent-Kirby