The European Union and Armenia are likely to adopt a joint statement outlining their future relations, a senior official in Yerevan said before the opening of the two-day Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Thursday.
Eduard Sharmazanov, deputy parliament speaker and senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the joint statement is likely to sum up the reforms completed so far and indicate continued political dialogue between Yerevan and Brussels.
“During these years due to EU-Armenia cooperation and the implementation of political reforms Armenia has become a more democratic country and the Armenian government is determined to continue these political reforms, because they stem from the interests of our state,” Sharmazanov underscored late on Wednesday after a weekly meeting of the HHK governing body.
President Serzh Sarkisian, who is also the HHK’s leader, is attending the November 28-29 summit in Vilnius where Armenia had originally been expected to initial an Association Agreement with the European Union, which would also provide for the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the 28-nation bloc.
After nearly four years of negotiations with the EU, however, earlier this fall Armenia unexpectedly decided to join the Customs Union currently embracing Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and further participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, a post-Soviet integration project advocated by the Kremlin.
The decision that President Serzh Sarkisian announced on September 3 after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow was described by many analysts and Brussels officials as a policy U-turn that effectively nullified the efforts on the accords. Officials in Yerevan, meanwhile, have denied any sharp change in their policies, saying that they simply made a choice between two processes that they had pursued from the very beginning and originally wanted to see combined.
Ever since that announcement the Armenian government has sought to sign an alternative non-binding document with the EU in Vilnius, which, while not affecting the ex-Soviet nation’s plans to join the Russian-led trade bloc, would still allow for continued political dialogue between Yerevan and Brussels.
Sharmazanov said that the fact that Armenia is participating in the Eastern Partnership summit at the level of its president shows that the dialogue with European partners will continue.