Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan has published his article entitled “Armenia’s Contribution to the Successes of the EU Eastern Partnership” in the EU Observer and has touched upon Armenia’s role in and expectations from the EU Eastern Partnership.
Armenian News-NEWS.am presents the article in its entirety below:
“The 10th anniversary of the EU Eastern Partnership provides the opportunity to assess the success recorded to this day and the prospects for larger bilateral and multilateral cooperation in Europe.
The first decade of the pretentious effort of the Eastern Partnership for the engagement of the eastern countries of the European Union has been perceived and interpreted differently by both partners and the EU member states.
Nevertheless, the Eastern Partnership was also marked by the significant level of progress made for the enhancement and deepening of relations between the European Union and the six Eastern Partnership countries. The Eastern Partnership is growing as a multilateral platform to encourage and promote regional cooperation between the partnering countries that have chosen different paths and levels of involvement with the EU.
Armenia’s unique success in the framework of the Eastern Partnership is due to three factors.
The first is the acknowledgement and perception of the special position of Armenia as a country seeking more flexible and enlarged circles of cooperation based on the EU’s “differentiation” policy, and the signing of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement attests to that.
Signed in November 2017 and ratified by the Parliament of Armenia in April 2018, the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement serves as an alternative path to achieve enhanced and strategically reinforced partnership between Armenia and the EU, beyond the format of the Associated Agreement. Moreover, the Agreement prescribes the prospective scope of Armenia’s contributions to the enhancement and deepening of relations, Europe’s support to the political and economic reforms in Armenia, as well as the strengthening of security and stability in the region.
The second major achievement for the Eastern Partnership was attaching importance to common values shared by Europe and Armenia, hinged on the heritage of general civilization, as well as the mutual aspirations for sustainable democracy, freedom, dialogue and cooperation. However, the relatively last and more promising development is the third factor, that is, Armenia’s unique contribution to the success of the Eastern Partnership. This contribution derives from the success of the Velvet Revolution that took place in Armenia last year, and it affirms the European values and ideals as a major platform for peaceful change.
From our perspective, the non-violent approach to political change in Armenia was the only potion to ensure a transition to credible democracy, accountability and good governance. Staying true to restoration of the priority of the citizen of Armenia, we managed to start a new chapter in our political history through public service that is aimed at placing national interest above one’s own interest and in which the reforms underway have become irreversible.
Armenia strives to strengthen its relations with Europe that are hinged on mutual respect, interests and acknowledgement of security considerations, acceptance of our responsibility for democratic governance and accountability, but we also expect the support of the EU for the promotion of our reforms, sustainable development and human contacts, including the ensuring of movement without a visa, cultural, educational and academic exchanges to use the potential of active and educated young people as “agents for change”.
A greater challenge facing the Eastern Partnership is the strengthening of its potential and capacity as a platform for regional consolidation and expansion of cooperation and stability, while resisting geopolitical competition and confrontation. Dialogue and cooperation remain the driving force and only selection for the peaceful settlement of conflicts and the establishment of durable peace and stability in Europe.
Thus, taking a look back at the past decade of the Eastern Partnership, it is clear that, like any program that has been around for a decade, this is also a growing and developing program in which the promise to reinforce our bilateral agenda with the EU and potential remain accessible.
And as we continue our path for deeper democracy and fair economic development in our country and peaceful settlement of conflicts, we emphasize the importance of continuity of and collective efforts for Europe’s support to reinforce the results of cooperation.
For development and further institutionalization of democracy, Armenia needs to work with the EU in order to expand the capacities of the Eastern Partnership for rule of law, sustainability of democratic institutions and for ensuring human rights protection and sustainable development. Depreciation of respect for and protection of human rights and the priorities for promoting democracy and rule of law in the territory of the Eastern Partnership will impede and cause severe damage to the EaP concept and value-based relations.
We also expect more security from the Eastern Partnership in pivotal sectors of interrelationship. In this sense, as a part of the positive agenda for interrelationships between regions, the EU can play a pivotal role in the creation and development of more inclusive transportation and energy projects with and among partners.
Armenia also expects a more comprehensive approach to security from the EU and the Eastern Partnership, including the adoption of a value-based policy on involvement, supporting the maintenance of peace, security and stability in our region. For instance, sustainable support to the vital right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to self-determination and the peaceful settlement of the conflict within the scope of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which have the mandate of the international community, is testing our partners’ consistency when it comes to sensitivity to the support to real peace in our region and to vital security of our nations. These principles and positions are reaffirmed in the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement.
Taking the opportunity of the 10th anniversary to welcome the success of the Eastern Partnership and herald the lasting promise, Armenia stays committed to make its contributions to the successes to be achieved in the next decades — a commitment that has only been reinforced with the first anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.”