Armenia-EU: Brussels opens door to Association Agreement with Yerevan

Damned I'm confused, today I red an article on armenianow.com - Armenia-EU: Brussels opens door to Association Agreement with Yerevan, you might wonder why I'm surprised?

Since January 2, Armenia is a full member of Eurasian Union (curated by Russia), as far as I remember Russia is not willing member countries of EAU to sign any treaties with EU at all. 

For now - I can say just one - I highly doubt Armenia will sign anything with EU, but time will show.

I'm republishing article from armenianow.com By NAIRA HAYRUMYAN ArmeniaNow correspondent

Armenia-EU: Brussels opens door to Association Agreement with Yerevan

Armenia and the European Union (EU) seem to have resumed their work on the preparation of the Association Agreement. An Eastern Partnership summit of the EU is due to be held in Riga, Latvia, in May, and according to certain indications Armenia may sign the political component of the agreement that was abandoned in 2013 when Yerevan announced its intention to get closer engaged in post-Soviet integration. 

The 15th meeting of the Board of cooperation between Armenia and the European Union took place in Brussels earlier this week. After the meeting, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian noted that the range of issues discussed included the continuation of political dialogue, the legal basis for future relations, issues related to migration, human rights, economic reforms, EU support to Armenia.

Brussels, in fact, did not rule out the possibility of signing, with Yerevan in the near future, the political part of the Association Agreement, without any component on free trade. This was stated by EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn after the meeting. The official stressed that the parties are currently conducting negotiations around this issue.

Nalbandian confirmed Armenia’s intention to deepen relations with the EU in all spheres on the basis of the achievements of recent years, but with regard to the commitments of Armenia within the framework of other integration processes.

Nalbandian reminded that the agreement on visa facilitation between the EU and Armenia came into force in January 2014. “We want to proceed to the next stage, which is the abolition of the visa regime,” the minister said.

Days before the Brussels meeting, a program of financial assistance to Armenia was launched in Yerevan. Almost €78 million (about $88.6 million) is intended for strengthening the borders, adapting legislation and dealing with poverty. As the head of the EU delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea said, Armenia is one of the largest recipients of funds per capita within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership program.

Russia has not yet expressed its attitude towards Armenia’s cooperation with the EU. The Russian press has several “alarming” articles about the fact that Armenia, despite its entry into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), is trying to re-establish ties with the West.

“The European Union believes that the Eurasian Economic Union is not forever and that it will eventually fall apart, and therefore adapting legislations in eastern neighboring countries, pulling them to EU standards is still relevant,”says political analyst Andrei Suzdaltsev in Gazeta.ru.

“Armenia is now as interested in strengthening ties with the European Union as ever,” High School of Economics Professor Alexei Portansky explains to the newspaper. “Because the economic situation in the main EEU donor country, Russia, is critical and money on integration may be absent.”

According to some observers, after joining the EEU Armenia indeed found itself on the verge of an economic collapse. The government can yet fulfill its social obligations at the expense of increasing the external debt. It is not clear, however, how EEU integration will be implemented, but it is clear that disintegration processes in the EEU space may soon surpass integration processes.

EEU members Kazakhstan and Belarus are also establishing ties with the European Union. Political analysts speak about the general expectation of the end of the EEU and its members appear to be preparing safety bags in advance.

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