A senior European Union diplomat on Thursday praised the new Armenian government’s efforts to combat corruption and said the EU is ready to assist Yerevan in that campaign.
Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, also said that the success of the unprecedented anti-corruption campaign launched by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government would make the country more attractive to foreign investors and donors. “I think that fighting corruption builds a good image for the country,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“We are seeing material proof that the new government is determined to eradicate corruption and all its manifestations,” Switalski said when asked to comment on high-profile corruption inquiries launched by the authorities. “What is equally important is that the new government wants to do it in the framework of the rule of law, on the basis of legislation and full transparency of the activities of law-enforcement agencies.”
Switalski also saw mounting “popular intolerance towards corruption.” “I’m so glad that Armenians now have the courage to talk about it and to show their opposition towards all manifestations of corruption,” he said. “Well done, Armenians!”
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, similarly hailed last week “concrete action” taken by the Armenian authorities against various corrupt practices. Speaking after talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian, Mogherini also voiced “full support” for their broader reform agenda.
Switalski said that a team of anti-corruption experts from EU member states will visit Yerevan in September to advise Armenian officials involved in the anti-graft drive.
“We are also ready to provide other assistance,” the diplomat went on. “It is not a big secret that at the recent meeting of the [EU-Armenia] subcommittee on justice and freedom the Armenian side requested us to provide technical expertise concerning the recovery of assets accumulated through illegal or criminal activities.”
“As you know, Europe has quite rich experience in that and we are ready to share with Armenia this technical experience,” he stressed.