The Eurasian Economic Union — a new stage of integration of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan — will be effective as early as 2013, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
"We are hoping to sign as early as next year a declaration about the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, which can and must start operating as early as 2013," Putin told journalists on the sidelines of the Customs Union Business Forum.
The creation of more favorable economic conditions in Belarus and Kazakhstan could lead to Russian firms wanting to move their headquarters to these countries, Putin said.
"I do not rule out that we will face a real threat that some companies will be re-registered in Belarus or Kazakhstan. We are perfectly aware of that," Putin said.
The Russian government will therefore try to create competitive conditions to attract business to Russia, he said.
This will already be the fourth stage of integration of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the prime minister said.
"We have every reason to believe that the Eurasian Economic Union will start working in 2013," he said.