Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski voiced support on Thursday for Armenia’s membership of the European Union during an official visit to Yerevan that ended his tour of the three South Caucasus states.
“Poland supports actions aimed at Armenia’s membership in the European Union, and that is why it is very important to facilitate and support those decisions that will really further Armenia’s EU accession process,” Komorowski said after talks with President Serzh Sarkisian.
“We are ready to share with you both negative and positive experience that we have gained during our difficult path to EU membership,” he told journalists.
While declaring European integration a top foreign policy priority, Armenia has so far not expressed a desire to join the EU in the foreseeable future. The authorities in Yerevan are instead seeking to deepen links with the bloc through its Eastern Partnership program covering six former Soviet republics, including neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The Eastern Partnership offers them the prospect of much closer ties falling short of EU membership in return for sweeping political and economic reforms. Poland, which took over the EU’s six-month rotating presidency on July 1, was one of the initiators of the program launched in 2008.
Sarkisian said Armenia’s participation in the Eastern Partnership was on the agenda of his talks with Komorowski. “President Komorowski and I mapped out our further actions within the framework of that program,” he told a joint news conference.
Komorowski said he expects Yerevan’s “active participation” in a summit on the Eastern Partnership to be held in Warsaw in September. “The Eastern Partnership is definitely creating certain expectations but it is also opening up very important opportunities,” he said.
“Let me stress one thing here. It is very important to start the process of bold reforms in all [six] countries,” added the Polish president.
Armenia and the EU began in July last year formal negotiations on the signing of an “association agreement” stemming from the program. Meeting in Yerevan last April, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fuele hailed what they called “good progress” in those talks.
Komorowski and Sarkisian also discussed bilateral Polish-Armenian relations. The Armenian leader said they focused on ways of expanding their “economic component.” He described Poland as a “reliable partner” of his country.
“You can find many friends of Armenia in Poland and that is the consequence of our rich historical heritage and centuries-old positive relations between our countries,” Komorowski said for his part. “Thefore, nowadays we want to be as close to Armenia as possible and are always happy to promote our relations.”