The European Union hopes that Armenia will sign a new EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, a senior European parliamentarian said following a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament David McAllister, who led a delegation on a visit to Armenia as part of a regional tour, spoke at a press conference at the end of a two-day visit that included meetings with top officials and political representatives in Armenia.
McAllister said: “I am very thankful for the president giving us so much of his precious time. We know that he is, of course, a very busy man. But it also showed that President Sarkisian was very interested in hearing the views of the members of the European Parliament and answered our questions in a very detailed way.”
Armenia was on track to sign a far-reaching association agreement with the European Union in 2013, but in a surprise policy U-turn in September that year President Sarkisian announced that his country would join a Russian-led economic grouping, something that made the planned deal with the EU impossible due to its major economic component.
Since then Armenia and the EU have been negotiating a less ambitious accord that was inched in Yerevan in March and is due to be signed at the next Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels in November.
“Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union. What happened in 2013 happened. But now President Sarkisian is ready to sign an ambitious agreement with the European Union and this is important for us, as the European Union, because we make clear that our Eastern Partnership policy isn’t a zero sum game,” the representative of the European Parliament said.
“It’s not about competition with other regional actors like Russia. I strongly believe that each country of the Eastern Partnership needs a tailor-made relation with the European Union which covers, of course, not only our interest, but also the interest of the specific country.”
McAllister expressed a hope that “the complicated negotiations in detail can be concluded.” “Because this will be beneficial for the people in Armenia and for businesses,” he underscored.