IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EU-Armenia Cooperation: Perspectives in the Current Political Environment
Armenia and the EU are looking to sign a new bilateral agreement, as there is an ongoing scoping exercise on the compatibility of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). If this exercice is successful and if EU Member States give the European Commission a mandate, negotiations on a new AA could already start around the Eastern Partnership Riga Summit.
On 25 February 2015, the Armenian National Platform of the EaP CSF and the EU Delegation to Armenia organised an international conference on EU-Armenia cooperation: perspectives in the current political environment. Traian Hristea, the head of the EU delegation to Armenia highlighted that at the initiative of the Armenian government “an intensive dialogue [with the EU] is continuing aimed at engaging with Armenia in all areas which are compatible with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)”.
Courtesy of EU Delegation to Armenia
Participants in the conference discussed the perspectives of EU-Armenia bilateral cooperation, in particular concerning its legal basis, and the role of civil society. Despite the fact that Armenia decided in September 2013 not to sign an Association Agreement(AA) with the EU, and in January 2015 to join the EEU, the EU remains committed to further engagement with Armenia. The talks between Armenia and EU, which started on November 4, 2014, are looking at the EEU to see how many chapters are incompatible with the DCFTA and the AA. This analysis should lead to a substantive new AA to be signed between the EU and Armenia that would still follow the core values of the EU. Formal talks on a new agreement could start as early as the EaP Riga Summit next May, provided that the EU Member States give the European Commission a negotiation mandate.
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum strongly encourages the active participation of civil society representatives in defining the challenges surrounding Eastern Partnership processes and strengthening democratic processes in Armenia.