Ashton deliberations surprise Europe-Armenia Advisory Council meeting

The first meeting of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Council took place on 28-30 May in Larnaca, Cyprus. The meeting, chaired by Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, MEP and Vice-Chair of the EPP Group, focused on perspectives of the EU-Armenia partnership, especially in the context of the forthcoming Association Agreement negotiations, as well as the situation in the region. Guest participants were Mr Takis Hadjigeorgiou and Ms Antigoni Papadopoulou, MEPs from Cyprus.
In this context, the High Representative’s plans to reorganise European foreign service come as a surprise. “We are very worried about recent deliberations by the HR Catherine Ashton to scrap the EU’s Special Representative to the South Caucasus and also to combine embassies in the South Caucasus”, comments EuFoA Secretary General Michael Kambeck. “This would be an abrupt change of policy, as the EU has just upgraded the individual embassies, has successfully started to treat each country individually and has established a regular intensive dialogue in all fields through all the channels. All those channels are badly needed and even need to be equipped with more means, if we are to take the ENP and the EaP seriously. NGOs like ours play an important role but we could not make up for weaker institutions.”
While discussing European-Armenian relations, Council members often stressed Armenia’s European identity. “Many Europeans are not aware enough of that fact, they are not aware that there is, at the East of Europe, another country with the same roots and the same identities, the same values, with a partly common path and a partly common history”, explained Professor Bernard Coulie as a motivation for his dedication. Insisting on Europe’s commitment to Armenia, MEP Kasoulides added “Armenia is a European country, with a European vocation. Its culture is a European culture.”

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