MADRID (RFE/RL)—Armenia and the European Union have reached a new “responsible” milestone in their relations, President Serzh Sarkisian said at a congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday.
“Last week the EU Council in Luxembourg approved the mandate to open negotiations on a new, legally binding and overarching agreement with Armenia. I strongly believe that negotiations will result in an elaborate document outlining comprehensive cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and it will become the best assurance for our joint commitment to elevate the Armenia-EU relations to a new stage,” Sarkisian said, as quoted by his press office.
Addressing the congress presided over by EPP President Joseph Daul and also attended by the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, Sarkisian also spoke about Armenia’s further democratization in the context of the planned constitutional amendments.
“In our country we continue to develop democratic institutions, to further balance the separate branches of power, to protect human rights and independence of judiciary. We have taken an important step in this direction by initiating a constitutional reform in our country, which is implemented in close cooperation with the Venice Commission,” Sarkisian said.
“Should our people approve the constitutional amendments on December 6, Armenia will transform its semi-presidential model of governance into a parliamentary one, which in its turn will make more efficient the interaction of the separate branches of power, will pave the way for more intensive economic development, will increase the level of human rights protection and the institutional role of the opposition.”
Sarkisian said that Armenia has invited the European Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international structures to observe the referendum.
“I am confident that you participation and best practices will give a further impetus to the progress of the democratic process in Armenia,” he underscored.