The EU still fails to engage with the most democratic enclave in Eastern Europe
Today, 3 May 2017, European Friends of Armenia provided an exclusive briefing with first-hand information from observers of the February Nagorno-Karabakh referendum, and the implications for the EU. Answering questions from the audience were:
- Frank ENGEL, MEP (Luxembourg, EPP)
- Hans-Jochen Schmidt (former German Ambassador to Armenia)
- Dr Michael Kambeck (EuFoA Co-Founder)
“The European Parliament and the European Council both demanded a strong engagement with the people of non-recognised entities, not least to help prepare the local population for peace times. There are some good initiatives in this regard, but the EU still fails to engage with the most democratic enclave in Eastern Europe: Nagorno-Karabakh / Artsakh.” commented MEP Frank ENGEL.
“It is clear that there is a strong wish by the local authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh to organise their lives democratically and the EU and its member states should support this, more than we currently do. With the increasingly autocratic developments in neighbouring Turkey and Azerbaijan, this becomes even more important.” analysed Hans-Jochen Schmidt.
“We are proud to have offered such in-depth first-hand information to EU decision makers today, about a part of Europe which most people in Brussels have never seen, but which is so decisive for Europe. As long as Azerbaijan continues threatening with war, the South Caucasus keeps the potential of a crisis of a scale larger than the current Syrian one.” concluded Dr Michael Kambeck.
Artsakh, more known as Nagorno-Karabakh, hosts Europe’s most volatile protracted conflict, with daily shootings for many years and in April 2016 a short period of large-scale fighting. With Turkey and Azerbaijan turning increasingly autocratic, the small ethnic Armenian enclave has taken a bold step to prevail. On 20 February 2017, with an overwhelming majority, people voted to change their constitution towards a presidential system and initiated the public use of the Armenian name “Artsakh”. A full report on the Referendum Observation Mission can be found HERE
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