The Armenian government will continue seeking closer ties with the European Union despite deciding to join the Russian-led customs union, parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian said during a visit to Brussels on Tuesday.
Abrahamian gave such assurances in a speech at the European Union and during an ensuing meeting with Jacek Protasiewicz, a vice-president of the EU legislature.
He acknowledged afterwards that EU parliamentarians and other officials in Brussels are disappointed with Armenia’s planned membership of the customs union. But he claimed that it “does not contradict and will not affect our future cooperation with the EU.”
“Right from the beginning they have treated our decision very negatively,” Abrahamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But that stems from the interests of our state. I explained to my [EU] colleague that that will not have an impact on our future cooperation.”
“I want to once again emphasize that we will continue our close cooperation with the EU and will continue implementing reforms in Armenia together with the EU,” he said.
The speaker did not mention Armenia’s draft Association Agreement with the EU which was on course to be finalized until President Serzh Sarkisian announced his decision to join the customs union on September 3. The Sarkisian administration says that it is still prepared to conclude the agreement despite the significant change in its foreign policy. The EU has not accepted the idea so far.