The European Union is making final preparations to sign a landmark treaty with Armenia in November, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, said on Wednesday.
“I am fresh from [a trip to] Brussels, I landed in Yerevan at 5 o’clock this morning,” Switalski told reporters. “Based on my conversations with all persons tasked with preparing for the signing of the agreement, I can say that everything is going according to plan.”
“People [in Brussels] are working very hard so that we can sign the agreement at the [EU’s] Eastern Partnership summit in November,” he said. “On the EU side, we are preparing everything.”
The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), finalized in March, is designed to deepen the EU’s political and economic relations with Armenia. It reportedly contains the main political provisions of a more far-reaching Association Agreement which the two sides nearly concluded in 2013.
President Serzh Sarkisian prevented the signing of that accord with his unexpected decision to seek Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The move was widely attributed to Russian pressure exerted on the Armenian government.
Sarkisian dismissed late last month suggestions that the planned alternative deal with the EU may also collapse at the last minute. “We have no reason to not sign that document,” he said of the CEPA. He again insisted that Moscow did not pressurize him into abandoning the Association Agreement four years ago.
Asked whether Russia’s mounting tensions with Western powers could scuttle the CEPA, Switalski reiterated that the EU expects to sign the agreement in November.
The EU diplomat also noted in that regard that Armenia and the EU are currently engaged in a “visa facilitation dialogue” aimed at making it easier for Armenian nationals to travel to EU member states. “I think it’s a very fruitful dialogue,” he said.