BRUSSELS (Azatutyun.am)—The European Union on Thursday announced 25 million euros ($28 million) in additional assistance to Armenia and expressed its readiness to finance large-scale infrastructure projects proposed by the Armenian government.
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, hailed “democratic reforms” implemented in Armenia after chairing, together with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, a second session of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council.
The council is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the landmark Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed by the two sides in 2017.
The CEPA offers the South Caucasus state the prospect of a closer relationship with the EU in return for major political and economic reforms. It commits Yerevan to gradually “approximating” Armenian economic laws and regulations to the EU’s legal framework.
“The implementation of our agreement is proceeding well,” Mogherini told a joint news conference with Mnatsakanyan in Brussels. “The dialogue, cooperation and partnership we have on different issues … is excellent, and we also have good plans for the future.”
“Based on the country’s performance, democratic reforms during the last year, the EU will allocate an additional 25 million euros this year, bringing the total allocation for this year to 65 million euros, to support Armenia in its reforms and in implementing effectively our agreement,” Mogherini said.
She said the EU is also “identifying funding possibilities for the priority projects that Armenia has recently presented to the European Commission.” They relate to not only public infrastructures but also energy efficiency, police reform and women’s rights, she added.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan requested EU funding for his “mega projects” when he visited Brussels in March. Pashinyan said after that trip that the EU is ready to support them provided that they are co-financed by the Armenian government.
The head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski, said last month that some of these projects are “very costly and very complicated.” “But we are very seriously considering how best to implement them,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
According to Mogherini, the EU is also ready to provide “substantial support” for sweeping judicial reforms planned by the Pashinyan administration. “We support the ongoing work aimed at a comprehensive judicial reform in Armenia in line with the Armenian constitution and with international standards,” she said. “An independent, efficient and accountable judiciary benefits all.”
Mnatsakanyan described the Partnership Council meeting as “very productive.” He reaffirmed Yerevan’s commitment to closer ties with the EU, saying that Armenia and the 28-nation bloc share a “common civilizational heritage” and commitment to democracy.