Breakthrough in EU-Armenia Relations: Overarching Agreement Looming

Written by | Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The European Union and Armenia have opened negotiations on a new overarching agreement with the aim to deepen their mutual ties. Talks were initiated by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is also the Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian. On this occasion, Ms Mogherini commented that the EU “aims for a comprehensive framework agreement covering political, economic and sectoral cooperation and taking into account Armenia’s more recent commitments”.

The EU’s High Representative also stressed that “our shared common values and strong commitment to democracy, human rights, rule of law will be at the basis of the new agreement. These will create favorable conditions for stronger cooperation in sectors such as energy, transport, and environment; for new opportunities for both sides’ trade and investment; and also for increased mobility to the benefit of our citizens, both in the EU and in Armenia”. The current relations are governed by the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement from 1999, which should be replaced by the newly negotiated agreement.

The new deal is hoped to reset EU-Armenia relations within the wider framework of the recently revamped European Neighborhood Policy and of the Eastern Partnership. It also presents an enormous opportunity to definitively bypass uncertainties created in 2013 when the negotiated EU-Armenia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) could not be completed after Armenia had decided to join the Eurasian Economic Union that includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Despite that 2013 decision not to start the negotiated Association Agreement with the EU, including the AA/DCFTA, both countries have continued their political and trade dialogue in areas where this is compatible with Armenia’s new international obligations following from Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

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