By Emil Danielyan
The European Union has released the second, final tranche of its annual $9.4 million budgetary subsidies to Armenia which will mainly to go pay for its government’s social and agricultural programs, the EU office in Yerevan announced Thursday.
The grant worth 4.5 million euros ($4.4 million) is part of the European Commission’s Food Security Program for the fiscal year 2001. Its first 5 million-euro installment was disbursed in January.
The funds, included in this year’s Armenian budget, are due to be used by the ministries of agriculture and social security and other government agencies for farmer assistance, family benefits, maintenance of orphanages and other related activities.
The European Commission’s branch office in Yerevan said in a statement that the disbursement of the grant “lays grounds” for the signing of the food security program for the next financial year. The allocations are likely to be kept at the 2001 level.
The latest tranche brings to 51 million euros the total amount of EU assistance to Armenia within the food security framework. The first such program was launched in 1996.
The EU has also provided other forms of assistance to the Armenian agricultural sector and played a significant role in boosting the safety of the Metsamor nuclear power station. Also, substantial sums of money have been channelled into Armenia through the EU’s TACIS program which seeks to accelerate structural reforms in former Soviet republics.
The overall volume of EU aid to Armenia since independence exceeds 300 million euros.