At This Stage Armenia Should be an Initiator in Its Relations with the EU

The EU Council has already approved the mandate for starting negotiations with Armenia. This means that the sides will soon launch the negotiations on an agreement with new legal base.

This can be considered a start of a new stage of EU-Armenia relations, which logically should be based on the achievements of the so many years and not allow to retreat from any of the fields of cooperation.

Armenia and the EU have a rich experience in both cooperation and negotiation. As a result of a long process several reforms have been made in a lot of spheres, Armenia has met the criteria of the EU and has completed the negotiations over the Association Agreement. This means that we have a team of negotiators well familiar with the European practice and have an experience of effective cooperation with them, as well as good basis for cooperation on common values. These will have great importance in this new phase and will contribute to the continuation of multi-vector cooperation.

At this stage it is important for Armenia to be an initiator and clearly define its expectations, to show readiness and flexibility for fulfilling them. In many cases we should be the one, that makes the first step, irrespective of EU’s willingness or opportunities to support us in that. In doing so, we will demonstrate our willingness and ability to set ambitious goals during negotiations.

As for the negotiations, it is desirable that they have a fixed or at least announced approximate deadline. The process cannot last for years, particularly when the new agreement should logically mainly include the provisions of the Association Agreement, with some amendments. Thus the negotiations should be dynamic and fix the expectations and the aims of the sides as soon as possible.

Another thing that is important at this stage is ensuring the transparency of the process. To have a public support of this process, the society should, within the possible, be informed of the negotiation process, the subject of the negotiations, as well as the expectations from it. In this process both media and the civil society can play a great and important role in terms of raising the public awareness, as well as supporting the negotiators with their ideas and initiatives.

Armenia should be ambitious, initiating and responsible in the negotiation process to ensure strong basis for EU-Armenia relations.

Anna Karapetyan

Expert, “Insight” Analytical Center