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Opposition Parties Want Parliament Panel On Eurasian Union


Armenia - Empty seats in the Armenian parliament, Yerevan, December 4, 2018.

The two opposition parties represented in the newly elected National Assembly called on Friday for the creation of a new parliament committee that would deal with Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Bright Armenia parties cited different considerations for having such a committee.

“The authorities have no intention to pull out of the EEU and we should try to use that membership to the benefit of the country,” said Bright Armenia leader Edmon Marukian, who called for Armenia’s withdrawal from the Russian-led trade bloc as recently as a year ago.

“We think that we need a parliamentary platform for dealing with problems which we mentioned when calling for withdrawal from the EEU and new problems which emerge every day,” Marukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

The BHK, for its part, believes that the committee should address Armenia’s relations with not only Russia and other EEU member states but also neighboring Georgia and Iran. Mikael Melkumian, a senior BHK parliamentarian, said leaders of the incoming parliament majority loyal to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian have signaled support for its establishment.

The new National Assembly will start its inaugural session on January 14. One of its first tasks is to determine the number and the names of standing parliament committees.

BHK deputies are expected to chair two of those committees. Another panel should be headed by a representative of Bright Armenia.

The former Armenian parliament had nine committees. One of them was tasked with facilitating Armenia’s “European integration.” According to Lena Nazarian, a senior member of Pashinian’s My Step alliance, that panel will continue to exist.

Marukian, Pashinian and another prominent politician co-headed the now defunct Yelk alliance that campaigned for Armenia’s withdrawal from the EEU in late 2017. Pashinian has favored Armenia’s continued membership in the bloc since he came to power in May.

"We are committed to further integration within the Eurasian Economic
Union and treat seriously our chairmanship in the EEU," Pashinian said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on December 27.

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