As a result of the work of the expert groups, the main areas for legal co-operation and approaches to resolving legal problems concerning Eurasian economic integration were outlined, and a standing body of experts was set up who will be called upon to work on the relevant issues during the course of the year. Participants in the Congress emphasised that 2007 saw the entry into force of an agreement on the status of the Basic Legislation of the EurAsEC, their drafting, adoption and implementation. This brings EurAsEC integration bodies to a new level of task, not simply to develop unified documents, but to make direct-action acts that would provide a common framework for legal regulation in EurAsEC Member States. This raises the need to involve a wide range of legal experts from EurAsEC countries in their drafting and discussion, and to carry out extensive comparative legal research. The experts have expressed their intention to become actively involved in this work in order to assist the EurAsEC Interparliamentary Assembly, which will bear the main burden of drafting such documents. To this end, the expert groups of the Congress will continue during the year to discuss draft EurAsEC Frameworks of Legislation and Concepts of such frameworks and to conduct comparative legal studies in the relevant areas, with a view to submitting a consolidated opinion of the expert community on these issues for consideration by the EurAsEC integration bodies by 2009.
Experts at the Congress noted that an essential condition for the successful implementation of the Agreement on the Status of the Basic Legislation of the EurAsEC, their drafting, adoption and implementation procedures and other EurAsEC integration acts is the professional development of practical personnel - executives, middle and lower levels of government of EurAsEC member states, the business community and human rights organisations. Even now, the development of major national infrastructure projects should take into account the possible existence of the corresponding elements of the EurAsEC - the Transport Union, the Customs Union, etc. - and for this the developers should have an idea and understanding of the basic legal and economic characteristics of such structures. The same applies to the formation of national legal frameworks in various areas: transport, public-private partnerships, foreign investment, finance, education and labour, which have recently been actively developed and improved in EurAsEC member states.
In order to meet this challenge, it is already advisable to start developing relevant competence centres and piloting relevant educational programmes. The Congress experts can also provide assistance in the development and implementation of such programmes.
The expert group meeting on legal support of interstate partnership and integration in the field of economic cooperation, finance, taxation and customs relations heard and considered 22 reports and scientific communications, which included the analysis of legislation of 12 countries of the Euro-Asian region. Professors and scientists representing 9 countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Finland) spoke directly to the expert panel, and written reports were received from representatives of another 3 states (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta). Three reports were presented by members of expert councils and staff of the EurAsEC Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. Thus, the discussion was based on the analysis of national legislation materials of all 6 EurAsEC member states, as well as 6 European Union member states.
The main purpose of the Expert Group meeting was to provide an expert assessment of existing legislative restrictions on trade and investment activities: within the framework of the EurAsEC, in relations between the states of the European Union on the one hand, and Russia (as well as the other states of the Euro-Asian region) on the other.
The importance of identifying and phasing out such constraints on (mutually beneficial) basis is in line with the foreign policy strategy of the Russian Federation. This work has been repeatedly recognised as a priority in the messages of the President of the Russian Federation and the strategic documents of the Russian government.
The work of the Expert Group has identified significant legislative constraints and obstacles to cross-border investment and trade and economic activities in the Euro-Asian region. These restrictions and obstacles are generally of a fiscal nature and are expressed in terms of the establishment of different taxation regimes for residents and non-residents; these differences are often unjustified and contrary to concluded international treaties; in the lack of harmonisation of national legislation (even within an integration entity such as the EurAsEC) and differing legal interpretations of many facts and circumstances essential to the establishment of a taxation regime.
In addition, possible and feasible forms of removing unreasonable obstacles to cross-border economic activity have been identified on the basis of agreements concluded within the framework of the EurAsEC, the Russian and European Union treaty legal framework, and bilateral tax treaties and conventions.