Coming up to the Berlin Treaty meeting it's worth glancing at another Union, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.
'The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has a population of nearly 1.5 billion and covers 3/5 of the Eurasian continent...
Four years ago in the city of Shanghai leaders of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan announced the birth of this new organisation of regional cooperation. The SCO makes efforts to strengthen good-neighborly relations, mutual trust and friendship between its member states; contributes to effective cooperation between its member states on economy, trade, transport, energy, tourism, environmental protection and humanitarian affairs; combats forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism; protects peace, security and stability in the region; promotes the creation of democratic, just and rational international political and economic order'.
'..the SCO has basically completed its work on mechanism [organisation] building... and establishing external ties. A recent summit in Astana outlined strategic plans, aimed at further development of the SCO, and, following the admission of Mongolia to the SCO as observer state, accepted Pakistan, Iran and India as new observers.' The United States sought observer status but was refused, as was Ukraine the last on the grounds that it is a European state.
Every year the Union strengthens: customs union, inter-Union transport, particularly highway links, energy supply and use agreements, investment, environmental protection, foreign relations, (that is Union relations with other blocs), banking, development funds, health and social welfare, human rights; by now the organisational structure from Secretary General through various councils of ministers from head of state level to interministerial co-operation, representation in discussion forums, budgets, bureaucracy, is complete.
'The Council of Heads of Government /Prime Ministers/ of SCO Member States agreed to hold its next meeting in Tashkent in 2007'.
A look at the map to remind oneself where these countries lie, and the thought that although they are more or less at the stage the European Union was in the late fifties, the speed with which the SCO has formed, developed, and established itself in only 5 years is increasing, puts Berlin into another light.
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