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EU Lawmaker Hails ‘Historic’ Deal With Armenia


Armenia -- Sajjad Karim, co-chairman of the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, at a news conference in Yerevan, 20Dec2017.

A senior member of the European Parliament on Wednesday stressed the significance of Armenia’s new agreement with the European Union, saying that it will help to put the country in a “real position of strength.”

Sajjad Karim, the co-chairman of the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, described the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed last month as a “historic milestone” in Armenia’s relations with the EU. He said it laid the groundwork for deepening those ties.

The CEPA also set Armenians on a “really fantastic journey in developing and moving forward with a vision of the sort of country they wish to develop for themselves,” Karim told a news conference in Yerevan. “And we will support that,” he said after a regular session of the committee comprising European and Armenian lawmakers.

“What we are witnessing here with the CEPA is that Armenia doing something completely new,” Karim said, arguing that it is the first member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to have negotiated such a deal with the EU.

“Armenia is showing that it is able to make its own decisions as a sovereign state through a very clear recognition of its future aspirations whilst also accommodating its own geography as well. And this places Armenia in a real position of strength,” added the British parliamentarian affiliated with Britain’s ruling Conservative Party.

Citing “common values” shared by Armenia and the EU, the CEPA commits the Armenian government to implementing political reforms and “approximating” national economic laws and regulations to those of the EU. Yerevan will regularly report to Brussels on “the progress made with regard to approximation” specified by several annexes to the agreement. This “regulatory harmonization” will cover business regulation, agriculture, transport, environment, consumer protection and even energy.

“Armenia will need to demonstrate that it has made progress in the areas where we have jointly reached agreements,” stressed Karim. That would pave the way for more EU assistance to Yerevan, he said.

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