September 23
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Armenia has not signed the free trade agreement with the European Union, but they have a very ambitious partnership agreement, representative of Swedish Foreign Ministry said  in an interview with New Eastern Europe.

Anna Westerholm, Ambassador for the Eastern Partnership at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said Armenia has a new leadership which has set itself a very ambitious agenda when it comes to change, values and democracy – and this must also be recognised.

Asked whether it is feasible for Armenia to be active in the EaP while at the same time being a member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Mrs. Westerholm insisted that there is not contradiction there.

“What they clearly cannot do is to have a free trade agreement with the EU, but to democratise and to have a stronger rule of law society and to work on the digital agenda…,” she said.

She emphasized that the European Union is discussing the security issues with the member states, “acknowledging the importance of security matters but also knowing that the Eastern Partnership is not a policy for security cooperation, we do not have a hard “security toolbox.”

“Rather, we need to look at security in the broader prospective. To unpack what we mean by security apart from the traditional defence discussion – security is also a peaceful, stable and just society. Part of building your own security is to build a functioning rule of law society],” she said.

Swedish diplomat added that corruption is also a huge threat to national security.

“So, treating corruption as a threat to national security can be seen as part of the EaP “security toolbox”. And then of course, we participation in CSDP missions. But I don’t see the EaP moving in the direction of conflict resolution. That is not our mandate.”

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