The European Union has announced plans to provide Armenia with up to 170 million euros ($220 million) in fresh assistance over the next three years.
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, said late on Monday that the “indicative allocation” will be part of much broader aid to countries that are part of its European Neighborhood Policy. They include not only ex-Soviet republics but also Arab states like Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan.
According to a statement released by the commission, just over one-third of the 2014-2017 aid package for Armenia is to be channeled into “private sector development.” The rest of the sum will mostly be spent on reforms of the judiciary and public administration promised by the Armenian authorities. The statement gave no further details.
In a progress report on six ex-Soviet states released in March, the European Commission noted widespread popular distrust in Armenian courts and a “lack of convincing results in the fight against corruption” declared by the authorities in Yerevan.
Three of those republics -- Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine -- subsequently signed far-reaching Association Agreements with the EU. Armenia was on track to sign a similar agreement until President Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly decided in September 2013 to join Russia’s Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The EU responded by abandoning the accord on the grounds that its dominant free-trade provisions are “not compatible” with membership in the union. It also cancelled plans to organize an international conference of Armenia’s international donors that was widely expected to approve much more large-scale assistance to Yerevan.