Armenia expects “substantial” economic benefits from its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Thursday during talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
The two men met ahead of the first session of the prime ministers of the EEU member states since the Russian-led bloc began functioning on January 1.
“We are confident that the creation of the EEU will give new impetus to the development of our economies and strengthening of their competitiveness,” Abrahamian told Medvedev in is opening remarks publicized by the Armenian government.
“We hope that our economic indicators will substantially change in the near future and, in particular, there will be an increase in the volumes of our trade and investments, which will in turn help to boost living standards and create new jobs,” he said.
Abrahamian similarly spoke in December of “good things” awaiting Armenia in the union. He said tangible results of the EEU membership will be visible already in 2015 but did not elaborate.
Abrahamian’s cabinet expects economic growth in Armenia to accelerate to 4 percent this year. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have forecast a lower growth rate: 3.3 percent. Some analysts in Yerevan say that even this scenario is overly optimistic given the mounting fallout from an unfolding recession in Russia.
Armenian critics of the EEU entry say that with the Russian economy projected to contract in 2015 and the Russian ruble having weakened by more than half over the past year Yerevan could not have chosen a worse moment to join the bloc.