AZG Armenian Daily #108, 07/06/2008

EC-Armenia

EUROPEAN COMMISSION TRANSFERS 5 MILLION ASSISTANCE TO
ARMENIA

The European Commission has disbursed the first
installment of a 16 million package to fight
unemployment, especially among the young workforce,
through reforms of the Vocational Education and
Training (VET) sector. The funds are part of the
European Commission's 2007 Annual Action Programme for
Armenia, endowed with a total of 21 million
assistance funds. This first transfer was made on 5
June 2008. Two further installments are foreseen until
2010. Mr. Hugues Mingarelli, Deputy Director-General
of the European Commission's Directorate-General for
External Relations, responsible for European
Neighborhood Policy and for relations with Eastern
Europe, Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, the Middle
East and Southern Mediterranean, gave a press
conference together with Mr. Tigran Davtyan, Minister
of Finance of the Republic of Armenia, Armenian Public
Radio reported.In the framework of the European
Neighborhood Policy (ENP), Armenia and the European
Commission have agreed to focus assistance of the
European Union to Armenia allocated in 2007 on further
reforms of the Vocational Education and Training (VET)
sector, building on extensive experience and lessons
learned from previous TACIS and other EU funded
projects. EU assistance to VET reforms in Armenia for
2008 will be delivered through large scale Budget
Support of 15 mln EUR, completed by a 1 mln EUR
project of technical assistance, i.e. 16 mln EUR in
total. The disbursement of the 15 mln EUR will be done
in three installments of 5 mln EUR each. The
conditionalities were mostly linked to the preparation
of the "Strategy on Restoring Strength in Education"
(to be implemented in 2010-2015) and to the
rehabilitation of selected VET centers. The programme
as a whole aims at improving the VET institutions as
well as the cooperation between employment and
education sectors, and at enhancing the business
climate for boosting job-creation.In the period
1992-2006 the European Commission has provided more
than 400 million euro in grants to Armenia through a
wide range of instruments, the most important ones
being TACIS, ECHO, Food Security Programme (FSP),
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights
(EIDHR) and Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA).More
particularly, since 1999, the EU has spent over 25 mln
EUR to development of the Education sector in Armenia,
through support to VET reforms and TEMPUS programme.