The European Union announced on Wednesday that it will provide Armenia with around 160 million euros ($197 million) in fresh assistance over the next three years in line with a recent agreement to deepen its relations with Yerevan.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed a document in Brussels listing “partnership priorities” of the two sides for the coming years.
Mogherini’s office said the document will “guide” the planned EU assistance to Armenia which will be channeled, among other areas, into education and innovation. A statement by the office gave no further details of the aid package.
“The European Union and Armenia are, with these Partnership Priorities, further enhancing our already strong friendship and cooperation,” Mogherini was reported to say at the signing ceremony held after her talks with Nalbandian.
“Combined with our new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that we signed only three months ago at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, we are reinforcing our joint commitment to delivering positive results in areas that really make a difference to peoples' lives, both in the EU and in Armenia,” she added.
Under the CEPA, the Armenian government is to carry out political reforms and boost human rights protection. It must also gradually “approximate” Armenian economic laws and regulations to those of the EU.
The 350-page agreement has to be ratified by Armenia’s parliament, the EU’s 28 member states and the European Parliament in order to fully come into force. Still, some of its key provisions can be put into practice right after the Armenian ratification expected next month.
According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Nalbandian and Mogherini discussed “the implementation of a number of provisions of the agreement after it is ratified by Armenia.” The EU statement specified that they spoke about concrete CEPA-related actions which Yerevan has pledged to take by 2020. It also said “good governance” and “economic development and market opportunities” will be among the main areas of EU-Armenia cooperation.