STRASBOURG—The establishment of a European Union-Artsakh Parliamentary Friendship Group was announced Wednesday with the assistance of the European Friends of Armenia (EFA). The group — similar to existing country-level groups such as the Lithuania-Arstakh Parliamentary Group and a similar French counterpart – aims to support the growth of civil society and democratic governance in Artsakh, as well as the growth of European values.
Several Members of the European Parliament have joined the group, with Frank Engel as its director.
With nationally diverse members from various European political groups, the parliamentary group will facilitate contacts between EU and Artsakh officials at all levels. The group will also on Artsakh’s representation and presence in international forums and EU programs.
The European Parliament has stated that the EU, through complementary confidence building measures, can support the Minsk Group’s efforts to solve the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Artsakh and the newly-established group will contribute to these endeavors.
“This group is an organ that brings together people who have an interest in the region, have a certain knowledge about the region or want to acquire it and who put themselves at the service of the people of Artsakh,” explains Engel.
“We want to create awareness towards an unrecognized piece of territory, which, at the end of the day, is a democratic republic and behaves like one.”
Engel also added, “European Friends of Armenia has been and remains instrumental in putting Karabakh on the European agenda. Being able to rely on European Friends of Armenia’s expertise and experience for all practical purposes of maintaining communication and interaction with the authorities of Nagorno Karabakh has been of vital importance for the group.”
Artsakh representatives said they welcomed this project wholeheartedly and called for closer relations between Artsakh and the European Union.