Poland’s ambassador in Yerevan expressed hope on Wednesday that a new agreement to deepen Armenia’s political and economic ties with the European Union will be signed as planned this autumn.
“We are waiting for the signing of the document,” Jerzy Nowakowski told reporters. “And as [EU] Ambassador Piotr Switalski has pointed out, we are waiting not for promises but for concrete steps from our Armenian partners.”
The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a less ambitious alternative to an Association Agreement negotiated by Armenian and EU officials in the summer of 2013. President Serzh Sarkisian precluded the signing of that deal with his unexpected decision in September 2013 to make Armenia part of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The U-turn was widely attributed to strong Russian pressure.
The alternative deal apparently contains the main political provisions of the cancelled Association Agreement. It was finalized in Yerevan in March and is expected to be signed in Brussels in November.
Asked whether he thinks the CEPA could be scuttled like the Association Agreement was, Nowakowski said: “I cross my fingers and say no [there is no such risk.] But I cross my fingers.”
Speaking in the Armenian parliament last week, Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian insisted that the CEPA is “due to be signed this autumn.” “We’ll talk about the results next year,” he added with a grin.
Naira Zohrabian, the chairwoman of an Armenian parliament committee on European integration, said on June 21 that Armenia has “discussed” the key CEPA provisions with Russia and that the latter does not object to them. “Therefore, right now I see no risk that the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement will not be signed in Brussels on November 24,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).