The government adopted on Thursday a timetable for concrete measures needed for expediting Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Customs Union.
Officials said it stems from a membership “roadmap” agreed with Russia and the union’s two other member states, Belarus and Kazakhstan, at a summit in Moscow last month.
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan chaired by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, Economy Minister Vahram Avanesian said the timetable contains 262 administrative and legislative acts concerning 20 areas of government policy. Avanesian said 150 of those measures are to be taken before Armenia joins a trade bloc which Russia plans to transform into a Eurasian Economic Union in 2015.
The timetable was not immediately made public. Nor has the Armenian government publicized the “roadmap” yet, a fact that has prompted strong criticism from opposition politicians and civil society members opposed to joining the union.
Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian assured reporters that both documents will be released “in one or two days.”
Sarkisian discussed the accession process on January 14 with the heads of government “working groups” handling it. He told them to prevent “any deviation from the defined timetable.”
Dozens of Armenian laws and regulations are due to be amended as part of that process. Some Russian officials have said that Yerevan will be prepared for Customs Union membership as early as in May.