The customs union and the common economic space being established by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will underlie a future Eurasian union, Russia\'s prime minister wrote in an article for the Izvestiya daily. The prospective union will not be a new U.S.S.R. or a replacement for the CIS, but an effective link between Europe and the Asia Pacific region, an association with close coordination of the economic and currency policies, Vladimir Putin wrote. \"The establishment of a customs union and common economic space lays the foundation for a future Eurasian economic union,\" Putin said. \"We set ourselves an ambitious task: to reach a higher integration level.\" \"It is an open project,\" the premier said, adding that \"other partners are welcome to join it.\" The CIS, a loose association of former Soviet republics, consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS Charter but participates in its activities. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia formed their own Customs Union earlier this year, scrapping interstate customs tariffs.