YEREVAN, Nov. 24 (The Conway Bulletin) – Armenia and the European Union signed a deal that will extend their cooperation and pull the Armenian government closer into the West’s sphere of influence.
The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, an effective substitute for a deal that Russia forced Armenia to pull out of in 2013, boosts dialogue and diplomatic touch points. Importantly, though, it doesn’t include any free trade agreements as Armenia is now part of the Kremlin’s Eurasian Economic Union.
Speaking later at the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan said that 2017 was the most significant year for EU-Armenia relations since independence in 1991.
“This Agreement is not merely a legal document, but a reflection on the wealth of values of human rights and fundamental freedoms that we share,” he said.
For the EU, the agreement should allow it a greater degree of influence over civil reforms in Armenia.
Analysts said Russia scuppered a more entrenched deal between the EU and Armenia in 2013 and instead forced it to join its fledgeling Eurasian Economic Union.
Russia is a major influence over Armenia. It has not commented on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement but a few days before it was signed a TV station linked to the Kremlin broadcast a documentary that said Armenia’s leadership was favourable to the Nazis. The TV programme also made a reference to the EU-Armenia deal.
— This story was first published in issue 352 of The Conway Bulletin