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EU Envoy Praises ‘Excellent’ Ties With Armenia


Armenia -- Piotr Switalski, head of the European Delegation in Armenia, at a news conference in Yerevan, July 22, 2019.

The outgoing head of the European Union Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, described the EU’s relationship with Armenia as “excellent” on Monday.

“Cooperation between the European Union and Armenia is on the right track,” he told a farewell news conference.

Switalski pointed to their “very intensive and friendly political dialogue” involving mutual visits by Armenian and EU leaders and the EU’s “technical missions” to Yerevan focusing on wide-ranging reforms planned by the Armenian government.

European Council President Donald Tusk praised the government’s reform agenda during a visit to Armenia earlier this month.He specifically hailed “the focus on creating an independent, efficient and accountable judicial system” after holding talks with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Switalski reaffirmed the EU’s readiness to support judicial reforms planned by Pashinian’s government with “political, technical and financial” assistance. The financial aid should be made available already this autumn, he said.

Switalski also stressed the importance of 25 million euros ($28 million) in additional EU aid to Armenia that will be provided this year. He portrayed the sum as a reward for reforms already implemented in the country. The diplomat singled out the holding in December 2018 of parliamentary elections widely recognized as democratic.

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also acknowledged the “democratic reforms” last month when she announced the extra aid after chairing, together with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian, a session of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council.

The CEPA offers the South Caucasus state the prospect of a closer relationship with the EU in return for major political and economic reforms. The 350-page agreement is already being partly implemented despite not having been ratified yet by all EU member states.

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