The European Union’s Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn expressed confidence on Thursday that the EU member states will soon authorize the launch of official negotiations on a new treaty with Armenia.
“I’m very confident that we will get very soon a mandate to start negotiations,” Hahn told reporters in Riga ahead of an EU summit also attended by leaders of six ex-Soviet states, including Armenia.
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, formally requested that mandate from the member governments earlier this week. Hahn said it submitted a “convincing” report explaining the wisdom of negotiating a new legal framework for closer ties with Armenia.
According to Hahn, the report is based on a “scoping exercise” that was concluded by Armenian and EU officials in March. They identified concrete political and economic areas of cooperation to be covered by the planned deal.
“The EU and Armenia have reached an understanding on the scope of their future contractual relations that take into account the other international commitments of Armenia, in particular its decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU),” read a statement released by the European Commission on Thursday.
Visiting Yerevan in March, Hahn said he hopes that the commission will receive the mandate during the Riga summit.
The new EU-Armenia accord would substitute for an Association Agreement which Yerevan and Brussels were close to finalizing in 2013. The Armenian government precluded its signing with its unexpected decision to join the Russian-led EEU.