Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn this week met Armenian Minister of Economy, Karen Chshmaritian, visiting Brussels, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding launching the Single Support Framework for EU support to Armenia, which sets the priorities for cooperation over the period 2014-2017.

 “The EU and Armenia are committed to continuing cooperation in areas of mutual interest based on shared values. We support the country’s modernisation efforts and we will continue encouraging necessary reforms in Armenia,” said Commissioner Hahn after the meeting on Monday.

 The Commissioner and the visiting Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding, launching the Single Support Framework for EU-support to Armenia 2014-2017, worth between €140 million and €170 million. The private sector, public administration, and justice will be the three priority sectors for implementing reform. These measures will be complemented by support to the modernisation of public institutions and support to civil society.

 The Commissioner also announced a first package of EU assistance for 2014 under the new framework. The fresh funding of €19 million will focus on small businesses and human rights protection in Armenia. The assistance is provided within the framework of the Eastern Partnership.

 Supporting businesses and innovative start-ups can, in the long run, boost job opportunities, increase economic competitiveness, and enhance the overall progress of the private sector of Armenia. In the field of human rights protection, the new programme will help improve relevant legislation in the areas of right to free elections, torture prevention, anti-discrimination, gender equality and child protection.

 The Commissioner and Minister Chshmaritian also signed a Financing Agreement for a Sector Support Programme to Agriculture and Rural Development worth € 25 million.

 The Single Support Framework is a programming document, which will chart EU support to Armenia in the period of 2014-2017. It has been consulted with national authorities, civil society, EU institutions and EU Member States.

 The three following priority sectors of intervention have been agreed: private sector development, public administration reform and justice sector reform. In addition, complementary support will be provided for training and knowledge sharing to support the modernisation of public institutions, and for civil society to build stronger democratic processes and accountability systems.

 The indicative allocation for the whole period is foreseen between a minimum of €140 million and a maximum of €170 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country’s needs and commitment to reforms. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).