IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Armenian National Platform position on the decision of RA authorities to join Eurasian Economic Union
Tagged under National Platforms
It has been a year since the RA President Serzh Sargsyan announced about Armenia’s intention to join the Customs Union and participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU), which in practice meant failure of the initialed Association Agreement with the EU- a plan that was developed in four-year-long intensive and productive negotiations between the RA and EU. Since then, the Armenian National Platform (ANP) of the EU Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) has several times came up with statements expressing disagreement with the foreign policy course of the official Yerevan, emphasizing the threats posed to the sovereignty and national security of the country and voiced concerns over the disrupted reform process in the RA.
In the course of the past months the Platform reiterated its principle position and the validity of its views regarding the prospects for the RA (see the ANP statement of September 17, 2013 and December 21, 2013). The dynamic development of EU-Armenia cooperation has considerably frozen since then. Our country found itself in a humiliating position, facing the overt reluctance of the two founding countries of EaEU – Belarus and Kazakhstan to accept Armenia as the fourth member of the Eurasian Economic Union. This course is already having its detrimental impact on the international image of Armenia, raising suspicion over the ability of Yerevan to make sovereign decisions deriving from its national interests.
As opposed to the assurances of the proponents of Eurasian integration, the decision of September 3, 2013 has in no way contributed to security of Armenia and Mountainous Karabakh. From the perspective of armed clashes in borderline territories and the number of victims in those incidents, the passing year has been the most tragic since the ceasefire regime established about two decades ago. Russia continued the supply of offensive weapons to Azerbaijan which became an additional factor leading to escalation of the regional tensions.
Achievements in the field of energy security which has been one of the main arguments for the Eurasian choice are not convincing either. After September 3 Armenia lost its last 20 percent share in the company which enjoys a monopoly in natural gas supplies to Armenia and the RA citizens had to face yet another increase of gas and electricity tariffs.
The ratification of the vague prospect of joining the Eurasian Union has once again been postponed to a new date – October 10, 2014, and is already creating preconditions for distancing from the closest neighbors of Armenia-Georgia and Iran. The new challenges which emerged in the past year increased the social vulnerability of our citizens and lead to even higher migration rates.
It is with a deep concern that the ANP warns of deepening split among the Armenian society, which results from the disputes around the Eastern Partnership, Ukrainian crisis and diverging views on the Moscow-West confrontation. By the way, sharp contradictions around these issues, as a rule, are not directly related to the vital interests of our country and specific problems of Armenia’s development. This unhealthy phenomenon came as an immediate result of the global information war and primarily the unprecedented manipulative impact of Russian TV channels transmitted in Armenia in an open network. Armenian National Platform has already addressed the relevant authorities regarding the issue of unacceptable propaganda for xenophobia carried out by a licensed broadcaster registered in Armenia in accordance with RA legislation (see ANP statement of 07.04.2014). Unfortunately, RA authorities failed to take measures to address the threats to information security of the country and the violation of national legislation.
Disregard of civic initiatives along with many other examples question the government’s assurances to follow the path of democratic reform and willingness to initiate a dialogue with the public, regardless of the choice of integration model. Right after the announcement of Eurasian choice we witnessed intolerance towards some forms of civil protest. Use of disproportionate force against the civil activists on September 5, and December 2, 2013, and the “cover-up” of the investigations of the attacks on the activists, the prosecution of Shant Harutyunyan and Volodia Avetisyan for political reasons, which have been voiced in the ANP statements many times, in no way strengthen the belief that Armenia is developing as a free and democratic state.
ANP has repeatedly offered to RA authorities, and primarily to the National Assembly to initiate substantive discussions on the whole range of issues regarding the milestone decision of September 3. No discussions in an official public format were organized in this regard, both before and after the September 3 announcement of RA president. Moreover, it would be of no surprise if the bill on RA’s accession to the EaEU, which is a product of questionable diplomatic procedures, will be hastily ratified in an extraordinary session of the parliament, without proper preparations and discussions. This reality is a proof to some serious drawbacks in the decision making system of the country when it comes to political decisions regarding the long-term prospects of the fate of the nation and the state.
Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum expresses its strong dissatisfaction and disagreement with the decision of RA government to join the Customs/Eurasian Economic Union and failure to initial the Association Agreement with the European Union. At the same time, we are deeply disappointed with absence of a principle position on the foreign policy course and reform agenda among the oppositional parties represented in the RA parliament, and inability of the parties that criticized the September 3 decision of Serzh Sargsyan, to come up with a common action.
In the current state of affairs, ANP expects the mobilization of the Armenian society for the sake of its national interests and considers its main task the raising of citizens’ awareness and responsibility for the future of the country.
September 25, 2014