Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian confirmed on Monday that the Armenian parliament will likely ratify by the end of March an extensive agreement on deepening Armenia’s political and economic ties with the European Union.
The chairman of the parliament’s foreign relations committee, Armen Ashotian, predicted the impending ratification of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) when he spoke RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on January 10.
“Armenia has stated that it is taking steps to ratify this document before April,” Nalbandian told a news conference. “But we are looking further. We hope that it will also be ratified by other European countries.”
One EU member state, Estonia, has already ratified the CEPA. The 350-page agreement also needs to be endorsed by all other EU member states as well as the European Parliament. But some of its provisions can be implemented even before the ratification process is complete.
Nalbandian emphasized this fact. “That may start on May 1 or June 1,” he said of the CEPA’s provisional implementation which is conditional on Armenian parliamentary ratification.
The minister also described the deal as an “important milestone” in Armenia’s relations with the EU.
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.