EU Warns Armenia About Russia Customs Union

Presidnet Sarkisian with Catherine Ashton in Brussels in July

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia cannot sign a far-reaching Association Agreement with the European Union if it joins the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, a spokeswoman for Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said on Friday.

“We are currently negotiating an Association Agreement together with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade part,” the official, Maja Kocijancic, told RFE/RL in Brussels. “Armenia is free and sovereign to enter into any agreement, including agreements with third countries. Armenia’s membership in a free trade agreement with a third country does not contradict the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) negotiations with the EU.”

“But if Armenia were to join any customs union, this would not be compatible with concluding a bilateral Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Armenia. Because a customs union has a common external trade policy and an individual member country no longer has sovereign control over its external trade policies,” Kocijancic stressed.

The Armenian government appears to be facing growing pressure from Moscow to seek membership of the Russian-led trade bloc which President Vladimir Putin hopes will eventually grow into a Eurasian Union of former Soviet republics. Putin and President Serzh Sarkisian are thought to have discussed the matter during talks held this year. Their most recent meeting took place in Moscow on Wednesday.

Neither Sarkisian nor other Armenian officials have explicitly pledged to make their country part of the Customs Union in their public statements made so far. The authorities in Yerevan seem more enthusiastic about signing the Association Agreement that would significantly deepen Armenia’s ties with the EU. They have repeatedly expressed hope that the ongoing association and free trade talks with Brussels will be concluded next year.

Kocijancic emphasized Yerevan’s declared strong commitment to the DCFTA. “You know that we had a [meeting of the EU’s] Cooperation Council with Armenia just a few days ago and at that meeting Armenia confirmed its commitment to negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement,” she said.

President Sarkisian gave similar assurances to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso when they met in Yerevan on December 1. He said he “reaffirmed our determination to develop and deepen Armenia-EU cooperation.”


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  1. GB said:

    Well, Armenia’s geopolitical location is important both for Russia and European Union!!

    The best for Armenia stay economically with EU as partner, and security wise, with Russia!! EU has no right to force Armenia, where Turkey still has an hostile policy against Armenia. So far, US, and UK, ignoring to recognize Armenian Genocide officially, in order to neutralize, and end Turkey’s anti Armenian policy in Caucasus!!

  2. Kevork said:

    So long as the Lizard Kingdom of Azerbaijan is not allowed in the Customs Union, then Armenia should not be worried. It could benefit either way. But I think Russia has some deeply entrenched roots already in Armenia, so this pathetic EU needs to understand this when dealing with Armenia.

  3. peter said:

    Europe has stabbed Armenia in the back too many times. They are addicted to Azeri oil and they just want to foot Armenia. This is all a game to make a phony peace with Azerbajian and be sure that the EU will force Armenia to give up the NKR as a condition for joining the EU.

  4. peter said:

    Russia is the only reliable ally because it has definite interests in preventing the destruction of Armenia. The Russians aren’t really doing it because they like Armenians but because it is not in their geopolitical interest to see Armenia as a barrier to Turkish expansion into Eurasia.

  5. peter said:

    I should correct myself by stating that it is not in the interest of Russia to see Turkey and Azebajian unite because this would lead to a potential Muslim Turkic uprising in Russia. Helping Armenia helps block Turkish aspirations to annex Armenia.

  6. George said:

    For Armenia Economic ties are iportant, however Genocide issue and Turkey should not be forgotten in these negociations.

  7. hayivrej said:

    go to hell europe, you released an azeri savage who killed a sleeping armenian in one of your “peace projects”. we will not only sign agreements with russia we shall also bring in more russian troops on our soil.

  8. Dave said:

    I wish to caution others about being too optimistic about Russia’s protecting Armenia though certainly Russia and Armenia have an interest in stopping pan-Turkish (a policy that is in effect being pushed by

    During all periods, not just the Soviet era, of Russian rule and domination of the Caucasus, Russia has been known to betray Armenia and Armenians while at the same time supporting Turks and Azeris.

    The full story of this topic has yet to be written. Just because an Armenian may be anti-Western does not mean that you should be fully pro-Russian.

  9. Avetis said:


    I sincerely suggest you revisit the history of Armenian-Russian relations. Had it not been for them pesky Russians, you would still be herding goats in eastern Anatolia as a Christian Turk. The only thing that betrayed Armenians in Russia were the Western financed and Jewish led Bolshevik that destroyed the Russian empire.

    I’m beginning to think that there is a serious deficit of rationale, reason and wisdom in the utterly worthless “Amerika-Hay” community.

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