European Neighbourhood Policy: Armenia

Reference: IP/05/237 Date: 02/03/2005


IP/05/237

Brussels, 2 March 2005

European Neighbourhood Policy: Armenia

The European Commission is recommending a significant intensification of
relations with Armenia, through the development of an Action Plan under the
European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This recommendation is based on the
Commission's Country Report published today, which provides a comprehensive
overview of the political and economic situation in Armenia and the state of
its bilateral relations with the European Union. The ENP goes beyond the
existing Partnership and Co operation Agreement to offer the prospect of an
increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree
of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. It is now
for the Council of Ministers to decide the next steps.

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy,
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commented `The European Neighbourhood Policy gives
us an opportunity to take relations with Armenia up a gear. I very much hope
that the Council will give the go ahead to negotiate an Action Plan, so that
we can work out a joint agenda for action in the coming years. Progress in
our relationship will reflect the efforts and success of the country
itself.'

In June 2004, Armenia (together with Azerbaijan and Georgia) was included in
the European Neighbourhood Policy, at its request and following a
recommendation made by the European Commission. The Commission was invited
to report on progress made by each country with regard to political and
economic reforms. Today, the Commission provides an assessment of
bilateral relations between the EU and Armenia, reflecting progress under
the existing Partnership and Co-operation Agreement and describing the
current situation in areas of particular interest for the ENP partnership:
the development of political institutions based on the values - democracy,
the rule of law, human rights - enshrined in the Agreement; regional
stability and co-operation in justice and home affairs; and economic and
social reforms that will create new opportunities for development and
modernisation, for further liberalisation of trade and for gradual
participation in the Internal Market.

Key objectives for the Action Plan should include:

Strengthening the rule of law, of democratic structures and pluralism (e.g.
the reform of electoral legislation in line with Council of Europe (CoE) and
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recommendations
and the holding of democratic elections; constitutional reform taking into
account CoE recommendations; reform of local self-government);
Strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially
regarding freedom of expression and freedom of assembly;
Improvements in the business climate as well as public sector modernisation
Further efforts to tackle corruption and fraud
Reform of tax and customs administrations and legislation
Progress in poverty reduction
Progress on sustainable development and environmental protection
The decommissioning of the Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant
Progress towards conflict resolution and enhanced regional cooperation.
Prudent macroeconomic policies need to be maintained to support effective
implementation of an Action Plan.

For more information on the European Neighbourhood Policy:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/enp/index_en.htm