The European Union is doing its best to finish preparations for a landmark agreement to deepen its ties with Armenia, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, said on Tuesday.
“We are deploying every possible effort” he told reporters. “I am an optimist and believe that these procedures will be formalized as soon as possible.”
Switalski did not specify, however, whether the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will be signed as planned during an EU summit in Brussels slated for November 24.
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Karen Nazarian was also careful not to confirm any dates for the signing of the CEPA, while announcing that the 350-agreement has already been translated into the EU’s 23 official languages. Asked whether some technical issues might still prevent the signing of the deal on November 24, Nazarian said: “I hope they won’t.”
Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for European neighborhood policy, hailed “the groundbreaking new agreement” with Armenia when he visited Yerevan on October 2. He said it will be signed “soon.”
The draft accord was finalized in March and publicized by the EU earlier this month. It calls for Armenia’s greater involvement in “policies, programs and agencies of the European Union.” It commits the Armenian government to implementing political reforms and “approximating” national economic laws and regulations to those of the EU.
The CEPA is a less ambitious alternative to an Association Agreement which Yerevan and Brussels nearly concluded in 2013. President Serzh Sarkisian scuttled that agreement with his unexpected decision to seek Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York in September, Sarkisian said his administration plans to sign the CEPA in November.