The European Union could start gradually implementing its recently signed landmark agreement with Armenia as early as this spring, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, said on Wednesday.
Switalski said that many provisions of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) can be put into practice even before the 350-page accord is ratified by the EU’s member states and legislative body, the European Parliament. But that, he stressed, could happen only after its ratification by the Armenian parliament.
“From the point of view of the European Union, the most important thing is that the agreement could be implemented provisionally this year, hopefully in spring this year,” the diplomat told reporters.
“I think we can be quite optimistic concerning the start of the provisional application of the agreement,” he added.
Armen Ashotian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, likewise said last week that the CEPA contains “transitional provisions” allowing the early implementation of some parts of the deal, including those relating to EU assistance to Armenia.
“But in order for that to happen, the National Assembly has to ratify it first,” Ashotian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He predicted that the Armenian parliament will ratify the CEPA by the end of March.
Under the CEPA, the Armenian government is to carry out political reforms aimed at democratizing the country’s political system and boosting human rights protection. It must also gradually “approximate” Armenian economic laws and regulations to those of the EU. President Serzh Sarkisian set up on December 25 an ad hoc government commission tasked with ensuring Yerevan’s compliance with the deal.