RELATIONS WITH THE EU
The European Union and Armenia
The European Union and Armenia have committed themselves to work together for the benefit of the citizens of Armenia and the European Union, to contribute to the strengthening of democracy and of political, economic and institutional stability. Both sides are committed to promote, preserve and strengthen peace and stability at regional and international level and to enhance cooperation in the area of freedom, security and justice thus reinforcing the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Political relations with EU
- Eastern Partnership.
- Regional Context and Conflict Resolution.
The EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has replaced the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (1999), and provides a solid basis to further enhance the reform agenda in areas of mutual interest. Armenia and the EU continue their political and trade dialogue in areas where it is compatible with Armenia’s new obligations to the Eurasian Economic Union.
Bodies under the CEPA:
The Partnership Council, which consists of representatives of the EU and Armenia at a ministerial level, governs the CEPA, meets at regular intervals, at least once a year, supervises and regularly reviews the CEPA implementation.
The Partnership Committee assists the Partnership Council in the performance of its duties and functions. Sub-committees and other bodies assist and regularly report on their activities to the Partnership Committee.
Parliamentary Partnership Committee is a forum for the sides to meet and exchange views.
Civil Society Platform is a forum to meet and exchange views. It consists of representatives of civil society, including members of the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership. The Civil Society Platform may make recommendations to the Partnership Council, the Partnership Committee and Parliamentary Partnership Committee.
Regional Context and Conflict Resolution
The EU has a strong interest in a politically stable and economically prosperous Southern Caucasus but the regional context is not an easy one. The unresolved conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh remains a major impediment to Armenia's socio-economic development. The EU continues to express its support to efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs towards a peaceful and comprehensive Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, including through the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia. To cautiously create a base for confidence-building and dialogue in the fresh post-war environment the EU has come up with a number of programmes (EU4Peace, EU4Dialogue, EU4Culture) and tries to additionally cover the most urgent needs via Rapid Reaction Mechanism Projects.
Economic Relations, Trade, Investments
Economic relations with EU
The EU is the largest development cooperation donor in Armenia. It has provided assistance to Armenia since the country gained independence. The EU will increase its financial assistance to ensure the effective implementation of the CEPA. The effective amount of the EU assistance to Armenia for the period 2017-2020 is over €211 million.
- Development cooperation.
- EU-Armenia Common Aviation Area Agreement.
- Energy, Transport, Climate Change, Environment, Agriculture.
- Education, Science, Technology, Digitalisation.
- Humanitarian Aid.
EU assistance to Armenia supports the objectives of the CEPA. It is linked to the country's reform commitments and aims at improving the quality of life of Armenian citizens. The EU-Armenia cooperation aims particularly at supporting government’s efforts to strengthen the rule of law, justice reform and access to justice. The European Union also works towards improving the business climate, rural development and agriculture, supporting connectivity including in the areas of energy and transport as well as fighting anticorruption. EU assistance to Armenia support these policy objectives and is funded through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for the period of 2014-2020. It replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013.
More: EU Assistance to Armenia
The EU is Armenia’s second trading partner, the first and an important export destination for Armenian products, and one of Armenia's main trading partners. The EU imports from Armenia are mainly manufactured goods, raw materials, beverages and tobacco. EU exports to Armenia consist of machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, and chemicals. The total value of preferential imports from Armenia into the EU under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) has increased, from € 42 million in 2014 to € 10978 million in 2019. By using the EU Access2Markets online database to Europe's market, it is possible to identify if a preferential duty rate applies to a particular product. The first GSP+ monitoring biennial report covering 2018 and 2019 was published in 2020. Find the report here.
Taking into account Armenia’s economic growth record, in 2020, the World Bank classified it as Upper Middle Income Country for the third year in a row. Therefore, following a one-year transition period, Armenia will stop benefiting from the GSP and its special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+). This effectively means that Armenia will no longer benefit from the EU’s preferential import tariffs as from January 2022; these will be replaced by the most favoured nation (MFN) duties as foreseen under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
EU-Armenia Common Aviation Area Agreement
On November 24, 2017, the EU-Armenia Common Aviation Area Agreement was initialled in Brussels. The Agreement, once signed, will open up and integrate the respective air transport markets of the Parties, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for consumers and operators. The agreement will establish a Common Aviation Area between the EU and Armenia, which will remove market restrictions and associate Armenia to the EU internal aviation market by harmonising its aviation legislation with EU standards and implementing a large part of EU aviation rules. It is estimated that the agreement with Armenia will increase the passenger numbers by up to 87,000 and bring up to €16 million of consumer surplus over the first five years of the agreement.
Energy, Transport, Climate Change, Environment, Agriculture
EU will continue to invest in renewables, interconnectivity and energy efficiency to decrease energy consumption, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen energy and climate resilience across the region. The EU High Level Energy Efficiency initiative aims to scale up already existing activities and materialize the agreement between EU and International Financial Institutions (EIB, EBRD, WB, IFC and IMF) to collaborate more actively towards assisting reforms and supporting investments on energy efficiency. In terms of governance and reforms, EU cooperation under EU4Energy has delivered broad support that creates more favourable conditions for Renewable Energy Sources development. The second phase of EU4Energy started in the beginning of 2021.
The EU collaborated closely with Armenia and other partners to prepare and complete the Indicative Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Investment Action Plan. The completion of the extended TEN-T core network by 2030 is expected to foster connectivity and development in the entire Eastern Partnership region and improving access to economic opportunities for citizens and businesses, as well as provide for increased road safety.
Armenia is a country with an ambitious climate change agenda, which makes significant efforts towards a low carbon development through increasing the share of renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, preserving and enhancing forest-covered areas and reporting regularly to the UNFCCC. As part of its co-operation with the European Union, Armenia has made commitments to a green economy. This is reflected in the Eastern Partnership Summit Declarations and the CEPA. The Green Deal and Green Recovery dimensions are high in the EU-Armenia agenda. EU4Sevan and EU Water Initiative + show strong EU-Armenia engagement in the environmental protection of Lake Sevan and River Basin Management, but can only be successful if everyone works hand in hand and takes responsibility.
The agriculture sector is contributing about 18% to the GDP and employing about 36% of the labour force. European Union stands by the Armenian farmers and whenever in trouble, EU reaches out to those in need. Natural resource management and consideration of proper waste reduction systems are key to make agricultural production sustainable. Then, the EU-Green Agriculture Initiative was launched in Armenia just in time to help during the pandemic and with the purpose of developing Armenia’s sustainable agribusinesses. The promotion of equal opportunities for rural people and sustainable growth that combines social benefits and respect for the environment is strongly related to green agriculture approaches and methodologies where EU plays an internationally recognized leading role. The EU support meant that farmers could produce more yield, diversify production, and become more self-reliant during these difficult times. EU-GAIA will not only help address food insecurity and poverty but will also help tackle the environmental degradation and the impending climate emergency.
EU provided substantial support to the education sector during the last decade, mainly concentrating on Vocational Education Training (VET), higher education particularly through Erasmus + programme and EU TUMO Convergence Centre for Engineering and Applied Science. Primary education was supported via the EU4Innovation programme. The regional support provides access for Armenia to the following EU programmes: Horizon 2020, COSME, EU4Youth and Creative Europe, as well as to Eastern Partnership European school.
The EU is actively involved in support of digitalisation and the e-government sector since 2002. The portfolio includes the introduction of an electronic document management system “Mulberry” (paperless ministry concept); e-system for submitting tax statements; electronic civil status registry, one-stop-shop vehicle registration system, automated driver’s licence issuing system, online “e-police”, e-Citizen portal, e-visa system, e-apostille system, e-notary, e-draft (draft legal acts discussion platform), “e-request.am” Interactive Portal to enable requests, complaints or suggestions to the government, online business registry, etc. See more: https://eufordigital.eu
The European Union delivers humanitarian aid to Armenia, particularly to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and post-war situation. In this context, the EU Delegation has used its Rapid Response Mechanism during the pandemic, to provide food, hygiene supplies and tools for distant education to people in regions. The Rapid response was also used to provide supplies to families displaced due to the Nagorno Karabakh war. The humanitarian aid department of the European Commission (ECHO) has allocated 70 million EUR to the region for humanitarian assistance.
Civil Society, Human rights, Justice, Democracy and Rule of Law
Civil society projects and commitments
The portfolio of civil society projects includes a wide range of projects focusing on key priorities identified in the EU Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society 2018-2020.
EU and Armenia hold an annual political dialogue on human rights. The EU-Armenia CEPA is an important reference in promoting the corresponding reforms. Human rights are addressed in a comprehensive manner, and activities include legislative revisions, improvement of procedures and practice.
A new Civil Society Roadmap was approved early 2022. It contains a brief analysis of the civil society arena, its operating environment and the challenges faced by civil society organisations (CSOs), and it identifies EU's priorities and actions for engaging with civil society in Armenia, and a set of indicators for the follow up. In line with the midterm review of the EU-Armenia Multi Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-2027, the Roadmap identifies medium-term objectives of EU cooperation with CSOs and encompasses policy dialogue, technical and financial support.
The new National Human Rights Strategy 2020-2022 and the Action Plan were adopted on 26 December 2019 and are in line with the priorities outlined in the CEPA. The National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan outlines strategic directions and specific activities for implementation of the rights enshrined in the constitution and international commitments. The Strategy and Action Plan were prepared with open and constructive consultations with civil society.
The Country Level Implementation Plan (CLIP) – Armenia has been approved by the European Union and the EU members states. It builds on the Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021 – 2027 (MIP), the Human Rights Country Strategy 2021-2024 and Gender Country Profile (CGP) of the Republic of Armenia (Armenia) 2021.
CLIP Armenia covers both the programmatic and political commitments and propose specific actions and initiatives for promoting gender equality in the Republic of Armenia until 2025. It was developed in consultation with the Armenian authorities, EU Member States, women’s organisations and other civil society actors.
The EU encourages Armenia to continue its efforts in building a fully-fledged democracy ensuring good governance, the rule of law and protection of human rights.
The Country Gender Profile (CGP) of the Republic of Armenia examines a range of social, political and economic issues through a gender lens, covering the thematic areas of engagement included in the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III). Its goal is to provide the European Delegation to Armenia with comprehensive information and recommendations to guide decision-making on the development of the Country Level Implementation Plan (CLIP), in line with GAP III, and on supporting the Government to mainstream gender and maximise efforts on gender equality. The document examines Armenia’s national context, highlights its legal and institutional framework for gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE), offers gender analysis on a sector by sector basis, and provides an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh on women and men. The last chapter proposes recommendations for the development of the Country Level Implementation Plan (CLIP) to support the Government of the Republic of Armenia and civil society.
This Country Gender Profile was prepared by the EU4Gender Equality Reform Helpdesk project, funded by the European Union and implemented by Niras. Its content is the sole responsibility of NIRAS and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.
Justice, Democracy and Rule of Law
In line with the CEPA standards and associated EU-Armenia Strategic Policy Dialogue on Justice Reform, a comprehensive assistance package is being provided to Armenia to contribute to strengthening the integrity and accountability in the justice system, improving access to modern and quality judicial services and supporting the Government in its anti-corruption reform agenda. The EU assistance is complementary to other instruments of technical assistance and capacity building support such as projects with the EU-Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance in the Eastern Partnership region and various EU4Integrity projects.
Cultural and Public diplomacy
Cultural and diplomatic activities
The European Union Delegation to Armenia organizes various cultural and public diplomacy activities such as Europe Days, European Heritage Days, European Day of Languages, European Union Visitors Programme, etc. In the scope of our possibilities, we also try to support similar activities when they are related to the European Union.
EU4Culture is currently the biggest regional cultural project (2021-2024). The project aims at promoting culture as an engine for growth and social development across the region, by assisting in implementing Cultural Development Strategies of non-capital cities and towns, providing grants and capacity-building support for complementing those strategies, and organising mobility schemes for artists and culture professionals.
The “European Union National Institutes of Culture” (EUNIC) is a global network of EU's Cultural Institutes, which unites 36 cultural Institutes from 27 Member States. EUNIC members work in the arts, languages, youth, education, science, society, and development. At a local level, EUNIC members join together in over 100 clusters - in cities and countries - to collaborate on common projects and programmes and to promote the role of culture in the EU’s internal and external relations. EUNIC Armenia cluster was launched on 2 October, 2018.
Creative Europe Armenia
Creative Europe Desk Armenia was founded in August 2018, with the support of the European Commission and Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia. The goal of the Desk is to promote European Union's programme of cultural grants in Armenia and contribute to the development of the capacity of the cultural operators, as well as to disseminate information about the upcoming calls for funding and host info days, training and consultations.
The European Union in Armenia has been actively helping Armenia to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic since its very start
The European Union in Armenia allocated over 90 million EUR in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemics. Multiple programmes were adapted to support Armenia in fighting the pandemics, in regards to unemployment, support to businesses, economic situation and help to the health care system.
The European Union in Armenia teamed up with Team Europe as well as international organisations active in Armenia to provide the necessary help to people affected by COVID-19 including medical equipment.