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New EU Aid Package For Armenia Unveiled


BELGIUM -- European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2019.

The Armenian government announced on Thursday that the European Union will provide it with 60 million euros ($70 million) in fresh assistance designed to help it deal with the coronavirus crisis, reform courts and root out corruption in Armenia.

The government revealed and approved two relevant agreements negotiated with the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, during its weekly session chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

One of the agreements calls for 30 million euros in funding for the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its socioeconomic consequences. According to a government statement, some of it will be spent on the purchase of new equipment for Armenian hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

“This is an exceptional program aimed at supporting anti-crisis measures taken by the government for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian.

“I want to stress that this is only one of the programs on neutralizing consequences of COVID-19,” he said. “We are also discussing with our European partners two other programs. We will present final agreements on them to the government.”

The EU already promised 51 million euros in coronavirus-related aid to Armenia in April. It was not clear if the EU funding announced by the Armenian government will be provided in addition to that sum.

The government said that the EU will also allocate another 30 million euros in support of its ongoing judicial reforms and fight against corruption. It said the aid will be spent, among other things, on the forthcoming creation of special anti-corruption courts and new law-enforcement divisions tasked with combating graft.

Presenting this program, Justice Minister Rustam Badasian said the EU aid will also be used for tackling corruption among judges. This, he explained, will be done through increasing the capacity of a state anti-corruption body which began recently scrutinizing the declared assets of judges and their relatives.

“This will lead to the implementation of our plan to have a judicial system free from corruption,” added Badasian.

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