10:20, 29 September, 2011

Sweden and Poland among EU member states came forth with an
initiative, which suggested an expanded cooperation with EU eastern
neighbor-countries - Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova
and Belarusia. The summit of the Eastern Partnership will be held in
the upcoming days in Warsaw, capital of Poland. At the threshold of
the summit Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski gave an exclusive
interview to Armenpress on the successes and issues of the Eastern

- Poland was one of initiators of the Eastern Partnership. In this
period of time what are the most tangible results of the initiative?

- Among the most tangible results of the Eastern Partnership is the
launching of EU negotiations on Association Agreements with Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova in 2010, EU Action Plan on visa
liberalisation for Ukraine and Moldova, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Consequently, both countries are on the way to visa free regime with
EU. Georgia started implementing visa facilitation agreement at the
beginning of 2011;

Among the achievements is that the EU raised financial support
for the EaP and the Eastern Partners. Additional funds are also
envisaged by 2013. Comprehensive Institutional Building Programmes
(CIB), supporting Eastern Partners, are being implemented ([email protected]
by 2013 for all Eastern Partners). European Investment Bank within the
Eastern Partners Facility and the EIB external mandate made available
[email protected] for Eastern European countries. The EaP multilateral path
of developing cooperation in specific areas was established along
with several flagship initiatives.

- In which ways can this initiative be mutually beneficial both for
Armenia and the EU?

- The Eastern Partnership offers the Eastern European countries an
ambitious project of gradual political and economic integration with
the EU, as well as an advanced mechanism offering specific support
in modernisation and transformation into full market-economies and
democracies, based on European values, standards and norms. As a
result of such cooperation, the EU enhances the stability, security
and prosperity of the entire continent.

- What does Poland expect from the Eastern Partnership Summit?

- The EaP Summit in Warsaw should bring additional impetus to the
initiative and set out new ambitious guidelines for its further
implementation. Poland expects that the Summit will reconfirm EU
readiness to acknowledge the European aspirations of Eastern Partners,
confirm the possibility of signing of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
and Deep and Comprehensive Free trade Agreement (DCFTA), as well as
the launching of EU-Moldova and EU-Georgia negotiations on DCFTA -
this year, make visa-free regime goal achievable to all partners that
will meet necessary but clearly formulated EU conditions, open the way
for interested Eastern partners to full integration with EU internal
market and to establishing an economic area between the EU and partner
countries, deepen sector cooperation in the area of transport, energy
efficiency, energy security, agriculture, etc, facilitate Eastern
partners' participation in EU agencies and programs (e.g. lifelong
learning programmes, including the Erasmus programme), confirm the
"more for more" principle under which partners involved intensely in
deepening cooperation with EU are to obtain additional EU support.

- How do you assess the pace of the negotiations of the association
agreement between Armenia and the EU? When will it be possible to
sign the agreement?

- The process of negotiations which started in July 2010 and the
current dynamic talks could be described as satisfactory.

Nevertheless, the most difficult chapters of the agreement, among
them the one on establishing the free trade zone, are still ahead. It
is clear that this process-with so many difficult regulations to be
implemented into the Armenian legislation-has to take more time.

Poland urges both the European Commission and Armenia to enhance
their efforts conduct the negotiations efficiently. In this regard,
the EU Comprehensive Institution Building Programme was prepared,
aiming at improving the capabilities of the Armenian administration.

- On 28-29 July the President of Poland visited Armenia. In what manner
did this visit contribute to the future development of Polish-Armenian
bilateral relations?

- It is important to remember that President Komorowski's official
visit to Armenia was preceded by visits of Prime Minister Tusk and
Foreign Minister in 2010. These three events show Poland's interest
in Armenia. From the political point of view, Armenia is a member
of the Eastern Partnership-we would like to see the success of your
pro-European efforts. Poland is also eager to enhance its economic
relations with Armenia-last year an intergovernmental agreement to
that effect was signed. During President's visit it was announced that
a Polish company would provide new biometric passports and IDs for
Armenians. We hope that such a success will pave the way for other
companies to start business with our Armenian partners.