The European Union has reaffirmed plans to finalize a far-reaching Association Agreement with Armenia in time for a November summit on the EU’s Eastern Partnership program covering six ex-Soviet states.
Stefan Fuele, the EU’s commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, made this clear as he commented on “concrete results” that should be expected from the summit which will take place in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius.
“For Armenia, it could be initialing the Association Agreement, including also the economic integration part,” Fuele said, speaking at the RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague on Thursday.
“We call it Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which is very complicated, but it's about harmonization of the Armenian legislation with the substantive part of the European Union's. So, it is actually a big deal,” he said.
Armenian and European Commission officials announced after a fresh round of negotiations in Yerevan in late March that they have worked out key terms of the accord and hope that it will be finalized by November. They expressed confidence that separate talks on the DCFTA will also be concluded in the coming months.
“If everything goes according to plan … it can then be signed next year,” Gunnar Wiegand, the chief EU negotiator, said at the time.
Armenia and the EU took a further step towards the association deal last month when they signed in Brussels an agreement on “readmission” of illegal immigrants. The document is tied to a separate visa facilitation agreement that was sealed at the EU headquarters last December.