Two European Parliament reports outline future approach to Armenia
Today, 24 October 2013, and yesterday, the Plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted two reports outlining amongst others its approach towards Armenia, for the first time since the announcement of President Sargsyan to join the Russian dominated Customs Union.
“There was a strange mood in the EP in recent weeks, which I have never seen before. MEPs shared a mix of worries for the independence of Armenia and disappointment after almost 4 years of successful reforms and finalisation of the negotiations for the Association Agreement and the DCFTA.” comments EuFoA Secretary General Dr Michael Kambeck. “On top, a small group of caviar corrupted MEPs tried to misuse the situation to punish Armenia with the sudden inclusion of pro-Azerbaijani formulations regarding the Karabakh conflict. In the end, this has been exposed, and the MEP most strongly behind this, Pino Arlacchi, is even facing disciplinary actions for his recent blatantly pro-governmental Election Observation Report from Azerbaijan. The EP stood by Armenia and underlined that the EU is still ready to help Armenia with its most pressing homework, i.e. strengthening the economy, governance and democracy.”
The report on the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Eastern part of which was drafted by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, expresses hopes “that Armenia will continue EU-related reforms, the implementation of which could lead to the country’s economic prosperity and could help solve socio-economic and political problems which still persist within the country;” More importantly, it “calls for a pursuit of cooperation with the EU, to which the EU is open; Welcomes the implementation of sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms in Armenia and further progress towards meeting the objectives of the [ENP-] Action Plan;” A paragraph on Nagorno-Karabakh, originally drafted by Pino Arlacchi and Ivo Vajgl to cherry pick the elements preferred by Azerbaijan, was reduced in the Plenary to focus on the Minsk Group proposed Basic Principles, which contain the points important to both sides of the conflict, including the withdrawal of troops, but also the necessary security guarantees, the status of Karabakh etc.
The report by Elmar Brok on the Common Foreign and Security Policy reaffirms that the EU proposed programmes are offers made for countries like Armenia to freely choose, and that this offer remains on the table “on the basis of shared common values and solidarity, and to share with them [explicitly including Armenia] all the advantages of the EU acquis, along the lines of an Economic Area Plus arrangement”.
Brok, who is also a member of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Council, explained the EU’s interest in the Plenary: “the development of Europe depends on the development of the Southern and Eastern neighbourhood. If there is a Southern and Eastern partnership with growing democracy, rule of law, economic prosperity and better living conditions, then this is the best security policy [for the EU].” He reminded also that Europe has demonstrated many times that democracy and the rule of law make countries successful, but that the decisions for each country’s orientation remains in its own capital, “not in Moscow or Brussels!”
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