BRUSSELS—The European Parliament-Armenia Friendship Group was launched Wednesday inside the parliament building, headed by Dr. Eleni Theocharous (Group of the European People’s Party, Cyprus) and with the presence of 25 delegates from the Armenian National Assembly, lead by Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan.
Also present at the announcement of the Friendship Group was Androulla Vassilou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The official opening was followed by a reception for the guests and the representatives of Armenian organizations in Belgium.
The idea of the European Parliament-Armenia Friendship Group was proposed by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) in collaboration with the permanent representation of Armenia in the EU. This initiative was succeeded Theocharous’ willingness to take the responsibility and presidency of the group.
In her remarks, Theocharous said that she took this position with great honor and this will bring the European Union and Armenia closer. She expressed hope that this group will widely open the doors of European Union to Armenia. She also mentioned that Armenians experienced Genocide by Turkey in the past, were oppressed by Soviet Union, and freed themselves from Azeri occupation by the independence of Artsakh. Theocharous finished her speech by saying, that we will only become richer by Armenian culture, music, art, poetry and magical presence of the Ararat.
Abrahamyan praised the creation of this group and mentioned that it will stimulate the European Union – Armenia relationship, which is already on the highest level. The parliament speaker discussed the constructive involvement of the Republic of Armenia in the different EU programs, such as Eastern Partnership and Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.
Armenia is also involved in the ongoing process of almost finalizing the EU – Armenia Association Agreement, and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, as well as the visa free regime with the EU. Abrahamyan emphasized the misinformation within the EU coming from Azerbaijan, and hoped that Friendship Group members will do their best to reveal the truth to the European Parliament.
EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian welcomed the creation of the Friendship Group and expressed his gratification that more than 30 members of the EU Parliament agreed to join; most of them were present and ratified their involvement with the signatures and they would continue their work to involve other members of Parliament as well.
Karampetian praised the collaboration between Theocharous, the Embassy of Armenia and the EAFJD. He expressed confidence that this group will have a successful working program and activity, bring closer Armenia and the European Union through their parliaments. “A visit of Members of the European Parliament to Armenia and Artsakh is already planned,” concluded Karampetian.