Poland hopes that Armenia will specify its position on relations with the European Union at the next Eastern Partnership summit, outlining the limits of its possible cooperation with the 28-nation bloc, the country’s ambassador in Yerevan said on Wednesday.
The Eastern Partnership is an EU initiative launched in 2009 for a relationship with the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Poland was one of the EU members that initiated the program.
Armenia was on track to sign an Association Agreement and form a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU until September 2003 when the South Caucasus country’s leadership decided to abandon the process and switch to another economic integration project led by Russia.
Since then leaders in Armenia have repeatedly stated about the nation’s readiness to sign the so-called political component of the accord with the EU that would not compromise Yerevan’s commitments with its new Eurasian Economic Union partners – Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The next Eastern Partnership summit is due to be held in Riga, Latvia, on May 21-22.
Speaking at an event in Yerevan organized ahead of the Riga summit, Jerzy Nowakowski, the newly appointed ambassador of Poland to Armenia, did not rule out that Armenia will sign only the political part of the EU Association Agreement without joining the DCFTA.
“We need to carefully monitor the progress of the negotiations and, of course, approach with understanding the circumstance that Armenia will join the political part of the agreement, skipping the economic part, since it is incompatible with the current economic system chosen by Armenia,” Nowakowski said.
The Polish ambassador at the same time added that it will be the decision of the government and the people of Armenia, and whatever it is, Warsaw will welcome it.
“Association [with the EU] will allow Armenia to develop not only in terms of its economy, but also in terms of its civic institutions. Poland is a vivid example of this as it first was associated with and only then joined the EU, proving that it gives a positive result,” Nowakowski stressed.
According to the Polish diplomat, at the Riga summit the EU will classify the states, for example, as friendly, unfriendly and neighborly partners.
Armenia’s First Deputy Economy Minister Garegin Melkonian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) earlier this month that no negotiation process with the EU on a new agreement is underway right now. “There are only expert-level discussions aimed at mapping out directions of future cooperation,” the official said.