Ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit, which is to be held in Brussels next week, the European Parliament has called on the European Union bodies to launch a dialogue with Armenia on visa liberalization.
A resolution passed at the European Parliament’s plenary session earlier this week refers to significant progress made since the last Eastern Partnership summit in Riga two years ago as well as to the conclusion of negotiations on a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia, which, it says, “serves as an example of how membership of the Eurasian Economic Union and participation in the EU’s neighborhood strategies can coexist.”
RFE/RL’s correspondent in Brussels Rikard Jozwiak explains that considering this progress, the MEPs want to start a Visa Liberalization Action Plan with Armenia, something that Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova did before. However, the final decision is to be made by the EU member states and the European Commission, he says.
“The European Parliament is probably the body in the European Union that is more sort of forward-looking. They obviously want to start what is called VLAP, which is the Visa Liberalization Action Plan, which is sort of a big action plan that Armenia has to fulfill when it comes to different rules and regulations. In fact, it’s the same sort of things that Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine did before,” Jozwiak says. “The EU Council, the member states, the Commission are thinking about this, but still, I don’t think that they will really grant it to Armenia at the [Brussels] summit.”
“It’s in the works. But what we have to remember is that the action plan usually takes two, three, four years to fulfill. I think it was two years with Georgia, two years and a half with Ukraine. If it happened, it would be the very start of a project that will be very long for Armenia,” RFE/RL’s correspondent in Brussels adds.
Offers of the MEPs on Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are even more ambitious and promising. Highly appreciating the progress of these countries in the direction of democracy and liberalization of the market, the European lawmakers urge their leaders to give a clear signal that Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova may, too, one day become full members of the European Union.
“We propose EP+ format, which includes the establishment of a trust fund, a new European investment plan, a financial support mechanism for the implementation of the association agreements… When the time comes, when the homework is done and necessary requirements are fulfilled, potential membership of these countries in the customs union, the digital union, the energy union should be considered as an option,” said coauthor of the resolution Laima Andrikiene, an MEP from Lithuania.
Promising broad political and financial opportunities, the European Parliament simultaneously underlines that Brussels should set clear limits and stop cooperation with and assistance to those countries that do not respect European values and human rights.
“As our resources are limited, the principle of ‘more for more’ and ‘less for less’ should be implemented. We should focus our resources much more on those Eastern Partnership countries that have made remarkable progress on their European path,” Andrikiene stated.