Armenia Gets European Commission Grant for Education Reforms

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The European Commission Friday announced that it is providing Armenia with a 5 million euro grant to implement reforms in specialized education and training.

The sum is the part of the Commission’s 2007 annual program for Armenia, which will provide the country with 21 million euros in assistance. The reforms being funded by the grant are to be carried out within the framework of the EU Neighborhood Policy.

Integration with Europe is a top priority for Armenia, Armenian Finance Minister Tigran Davtian told reporters during a joint press conference with the deputy director of the European Commission’s Chief Directorate of Foreign Ties Huge Mingarelli.

Davtian explained that a 15 million euro budget provision along with 6 million euroes for "TAYEX" and "TWINING" technical support is intended for Armenia within the framework of the EU Action Program.

The requiremen’s set forth in the Action Program will cost at least 100 million euros, he said, adding that provision of the support is greatly connected with how the country will be able to satisfy the standards.

The provision of the 5 million euros is very significant, Davtian noted, because it shows that Armenia has successfully fulfilled a certain set of EU requiremen’s and is making progress in the right direction.

Starting the process for a free trade agreement with the EU is very important and will further integrate Armenia’s economy with the EU.

"The free trade agreement is a comprehensive document involving not only technical but also other spheres and will demand long efforts and negotiations," he explained. "The most important thing is that both sides have expressed a wish to start the process."

A free trade agreement will increase the level of trade and economic cooperation between Armenia and the EU, the minister said.

Mingarelli said that Armenian authorities have presented information and statistics to the European Commission. The Commission is examining the information and in several weeks the representatives of the establishment will arrive in Armenia and discuss with their Armenian partners the next phase.

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