A deputy speaker of the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, tells “168 Zham” that the European Union and Armenian may start next year an official “dialogue” on the liberalization of the EU’s visa regime for Armenian nationals. But Czarnecki also cautions in this regard that the Armenian government has yet to prove that it has stepped on a “path of European integration” and can create the kind of living standards that would discourage Armenians from illegally emigrating to the EU. “Visa liberalization is not only a great opportunity but also a great challenge for which a country must be prepared politically and economically,” he says.
“Zhamanak” describes NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller’s visit to Yerevan as a “remarkable event,” saying that it may herald a “new level of relations” between Armenia and NATO. The paper quotes Gottemoeller as saying on Monday that Armenia is NATO’s sole partner state that “consistently” contributes troops to the NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. “Although that participation [by Armenia] is largely symbolic it receives praise for apparently political reasons,” it says. “From that standpoint, discussions on a new, military-technical component of the Armenia-NATO relationship probably reflect that praise by NATO … And that means a new situation in the region.”
“Zhoghovurd” reports that the Armenian parliament will debate on Tuesday yet another structural change of the judicial system which has been proposed by the government. Under the government bill, s even district courts currently operating in Yerevan will be merged into a single Court of General Jurisdiction. “Thus Armenia’s judicial system will get a body that will have almost as many powers as Administrative Courts do,” writes the paper. It says the main official rationale for this change is to ensure a more even distribution of criminal and civil cases among lower-level judges in Yerevan. “But there is no word on how the change will affect the independence of the courts and the quality of justice,” it adds.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that retail prices of butter and pork in Armenia have soared by over 40 percent since the beginning of this year. Government officials blame these price hikes on external market factors. “But these products have been becoming cheaper around the world for the last few months, and that does not reflect on Armenian prices in any way,” counters the paper. “The reason for that is the absence of competition.”