A senior diplomat reaffirmed on Thursday the Armenian government’s intention to sign later this month an agreement aimed at significantly deepening Armenia’s relations with the European Union.
“As the president of the republic has stated, we are ready to sign the agreement in November,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Karen Nazarian. “Our colleagues from the European Union assure us that the process is moving forward according to plan.”
“I just don’t know what else can be said to allay existing concerns related to this issue,” Nazarian told lawmakers in Yerevan.
Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for European neighborhood policy, confirmed on October 27 that the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is due to be signed during or on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels scheduled for November 24. In an apparent reference to Russia, Hahn suggested that the EU’s and Armenia’s “neighbors” do not object to the deal.
Nazarian hailed the CEPA as an “ambitious” document that will boost not only political but also economic links between the EU and Armenia. “The agreement also heralds a new period in commercial relations between Armenia and the EU,” he said. “It will contribute to closer economic cooperation by improving the business regulatory environment. It will also create opportunities for investments and new jobs.”
The 350-page agreement stipulates, among other things, that Armenia will “gradually approximate its economic and financial regulations and policies to those of the European Union, as appropriate.” Yerevan will regularly report to Brussels on “the progress made with regard to approximation” specified by several annexes to the agreement. This “regulatory harmonization” would cover business regulation, agriculture, transport, environment, consumer protection and even energy.