In an interview with the Russian news agency Ria Novosti on May 27, Yevgeny Moskvichev, chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Transport and Construction Committee, stated that it is envisaged to adopt a law according to which foreign companies and citizens of foreign countries will be prohibited from providing taxi services.
This draft law was adopted by the State Duma deputies in the first reading in December and now, with some modifications, it will be presented to the second reading.
However, if adopted, this draft law will be in contradiction with the EAEU Treaty ratified by Russia.
Article 97 of the Treaty, which regulates the labor activity of the workers of the EAEU Member States, defines that employers in a Member State have the right to engage workers from other Member States without taking into consideration the restrictions related to the national labor market protection.
It is well-known that international treaties are superior to the laws of the states, and if the international treaty establishes other norms than those prescribed by national law, then the international norms shall apply.
Paragraph 2 of the same article defines that Member States do not define and apply restrictions imposed by their legislation for the protection of the national labor market, with the exception of the restrictions imposed by national legislation aimed at ensuring national security (including strategic sectors of the economy) and public order.
This implies that restrictions may only be made in areas that concern national security or public order. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that taxi service provided by foreign citizens will be linked to national security or public order.
Consequently, a new draft law, which prohibits Russian residents not holding Russian citizenship from providing taxi service, contradicts Russia’s international obligations, in this case, the EAEU Treaty.
As a reminder, EAEU has five member states: Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.