The European Union reacted to Nikol Pashinian’s appointment as Armenia’s new prime minister on Tuesday, saying that it anticipates continued efforts to implement the EU’s recent landmark agreement with the South Caucasus state.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and commissioner on European neighborhood policy, Johannes Hahn, said that Pashinian was elected by the Armenian parliament “in accordance with the Constitution.”
“The European Union looks forward to working with him and his government on the implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed last November, with a view to further consolidating democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights, and to creating a prosperous and resilient country for the benefit of all citizens of Armenia,” they said in a joint statement.
“To achieve these important goals, a comprehensive dialogue among all political stakeholders in Armenia, including civil society, remains crucial,” they added.
The EU has repeatedly urged such dialogue during the political crisis in Armenia sparked by former President Serzh Sarkisian’s attempt to hold on to power after serving out his second presidential term on April 9. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, congratulated Sarkisian on becoming prime minister two days before he resigned on April 23 amid massive street protests led by Pashinian.
The CEPA commits the Armenian authorities to carrying out political reforms that will democratize the country’s political system and boost human rights protection. Yerevan must also gradually “approximate” Armenian economic laws and regulations to those of the EU.
Pashinian called for a quick ratification of the CEPA by all EU member states when he addressed Armenian lawmakers shortly before they voted to elect him prime minister earlier on Tuesday. He also said his government will aim to start “in the near future” negotiations with Brussels on lifting the EU’s visa requirements for Armenian nationals travelling to Europe.
While also pledging to give “new impetus” to Armenia’s relations with the United States, Pashinian made clear that his country will remain allied to Russia politically and militarily.