Kazakhstan refutes Russian claim on introduction of common Eurasian currency

Kazakhstan refuted a Russian parliamentary member’s comments that a common currency for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) called evraz is in the works. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Press Secretary Dauren Abayev stated that the prospect of introducing a common currency with the Union’s four other members, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, is not on the agenda. Asked by media outlet Kazinform to respond to the Russian Duma Chairman of the Committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Leonid Slutsky’s statement that the new evraz would be introduced soon, Abayev wrote on the presidential administration’s official Facebook page that the issue is not being discussed on any level of the integrated union.

RIA Novosti reported Slutsky stating that although work on introducing the common currency has commenced, the issue was proving difficult and would take time to carry out. Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Khristenko echoed Slutky’s last assertion, commenting at the Eurasian Economic Outlook IV International Forum in October that the EAEU does not plan to introduce a common Eurasian currency, and that introducing such would not even be practically possible until 2025.

In an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant in late October, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei was quoted saying that the time had not yet come to introduce a common currency in the EAEU, but that Kazakhstan’s 2015 entrance into the World Trade Organization will slow the EAEU’s progress. A July Diplomat article confirms his statement, reporting that Kazakhstan’s agreements with the WTO and EAEU means that the EAEU will be responsible for lowering tariffs along with Kazakhstan when necessary.

The prospect of creating a common Eurasian currency, pushed by Russia, has received a lukewarm response from other Eurasian states, especially as the ruble and other regional currencies continue to fluctuate in 2015’s volatile economic environment. Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a currency union with Belarus and Kazakhstan in March, to which Presidents Lukashenko and Nazarbayev did not respond directly.

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