The final decision on granting Ukraine the status of observer in the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECE), which is a supranational regulatory body of the Customs Union, is still pending, and negotiations are continuing, deputy economic development minister of the Russian Federation Alexei Likhachev stated.
"Indeed, the Ukrainian party prepared and sent us a draft memorandum of granting Ukraine observer status at the ECE. They have observer status in the Eurasian Economic Community, so they offered us to consider possibility of becoming an observer at the ECE. We received the document. Now negotiations are held in bilateral format and today the Board of ECE discussed this issue - further efforts in preparing this memorandum. But this issue is not resolved," the deputy minister said.
Answering the question whether the memorandum may be signed in May at the presidential level, Likhachev said that "everything is possible." "But while I believe that this question is difficult to be answered unequivocally," he added.
According to the deputy head of the Ministry, to adopt a positive decision, the document must be agreed upon by all five parties - Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and the Eurasian Economic Commission as an independent regulatory authority.
"Then the observer status will allow Ukraine to attend open meetings of the ECE. In this sense, the interaction (between the Customs Union and Ukraine - Ed.) will improve, but some fundamental advances in the integration process of Ukraine will not happen," Likhachev concluded.
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