The European Union does not exclude that a new agreement with Armenia considering the South Caucasus country’s commitments to an emerging Russian-led trade bloc may be signed in the near future, according to a Brussels representative in Yerevan.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Friday, Ambassador Traian Hristea, the head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, said that negotiations around the matter are currently underway between the two parties.
The European Union and Armenia signed a memorandum of understanding on November 3 launching the Single Support Framework for EU support to Yerevan under which the 28-nation bloc pledged to provide between 140 million and 170 million euros to Armenia for private-sector, public administration, and justice reforms over the next three years.
Newly appointed EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn told RFE/RL on Monday about the starting “first reflection process” on the issue of identifying areas of future cooperation with Armenia and on what Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union implies for its relationship with the EU.
“Taking into account the new Armenian commitments [we are going] to see what are those areas of bilateral cooperation that we can put from the sectoral point of view into the future agreement that we are going to conclude in, I hope, immediate future with Armenia,” said Hristea, reflecting on the results of the Brussels meeting.
As for the possibility of the EU signing the so-called political part of the Association Agreement with Armenia excluding the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) component that contradicts Armenia’s new commitments to the EEU, the head of the EU delegation in Yerevan said: “I think that we really have to take in account what we agreed in Vilnius. During the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius we convened first and foremost to continue the support for Armenia in terms of democratization, rule of law, fight against corruption and support for the reforms to engage in bilateral cooperation as far as bilateral sectoral cooperation is concerned. And that was the purpose of that meeting [in Brussels]. And thirdly [its purpose was] to make use of the existing association agreement that has been negotiated and in the future also to update the action plan.”
“It’s a part of a much more complex exercise and as soon as that is finishing, we will see what kind of agreement we have,” Hristea concluded.