On 9 July, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a report on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The report, assessing the EU’s approach towards its immediate neighbours, contains several points relevant to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Among others, it “calls for the ENP to be developed into a more tailor-made and flexible policy framework that is able to adapt to the diversity that exists among partner countries”, while considering that the “EU should invite non-association partner countries to engage in sectorial cooperation, including the possibility of concluding new or reinforcing existing sectorial agreements”. In addition, the report supports enhancing mobility within the neighbourhood through visa facilitation and liberalisation and requests the European Commission to offer ENP countries participation in additional EU agencies and programs such as FRONTEX, EUROPOL, or Erasmus.
Moreover, the EP text underlines also the importance of the partners’ engagement in EURONEST PA and European political parties in promoting political dialogue and further developing democratic institutions.
European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA) welcomes these important points. “They clearly reflect the position our NGO long stands for”, comments EuFoA Director, Mr Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa, “namely that the EU-Armenia relations are particular and therefore deserve a legal framework that plays best to its strengths. These paragraphs are also helpful for Armenia in identifying areas of mutual interest in which it can engage with the EU, strengthening EU-Armenia relations in all possible fields.”
Dr Andrei Kovatchev, a Bulgarian MEP and member of EuFoA’s Europe-Armenia Advisory Council, adds: “This is a very important report, a first of its kind in this legislature. My colleagues and myself have supported this document, and the articles related to the Eastern Partnership and South Caucasus, which hopefully will give a strong impetus in further deepening EU-Armenia relations”.
On the other hand, the report makes a case for further European Union support in confidence-building mechanisms in the so-called frozen conflicts, with the engagement of EU Special Representatives, and “calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to develop innovative measures and approaches, including public communication strategies and informal consultations, in order to support dialogue and reconciliation”.
The report was drafted by Mr Eduard Kukan, a Slovakian MEP from the EPP Group, and was adopted by the majority of MEPs present.