How will the EaEU member Armenia cooperate with the EU?

October 4 2014

In the conversation with `Aravot', answering the question of why,
however, the political section of the Armenian-EU Association
Agreement was not signed, the 1991-92 Slovak foreign minister, now
Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund's Bratislava office,
Pavol Demeš, gave evasive answers. - You know, the EU cooperation
differently with the six Eastern Partnership countries. The EU does
not consider the Eastern Partnership countries as a single unit.

Cooperation with these countries is individual. EU Association
Agreement was initialed with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as these
three countries, unlike Armenia, did not announce about their
willingness to affiliate to the Eurasian Union. At the same time,
there was not word with Belarus and Azerbaijan about the Association.

This means that Armenia is a sovereign state, with which the European
Union is developing its relations in a way that it thinks would be
beneficial to both the EU and Armenia. - On October 10, it is expected
that Armenia will be signing the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty. At
the same time, both Armenian and European officials announce about
shifting the relations with the EU to a new legal dimensions. It seems
Armenia has no clue of how it should be done. Do you see any option,
which will enable the EaEU member Armenia to develop the relations
with EU? - It was a new situation, and frankly speaking, the European
Union was not ready for it. It would never occur to the EU that
Armenia might not be one of the Eastern Partnership countries that
will not sign the Association Agreement. Especially, when Armenia made
quite a lot of steps for the EU Association, it implemented pretty
positive reforms. The fact that the Government of Armenia decided to
join the Eurasian Union, immediately changed the political situation,
including also opening of a new window to develop relations with EU.

EU cannot reject the hand of cooperation and turn away its face. But,
naturally, it can no longer be based on previous arrangements. I
think, Europe needs time to see how Armenia will develop after
affiliation to EaEU, what effect the EaEU membership will have on
Armenia's political and economic systems, how the population will
react to all of this, how will Armenia develop in-between the two
geopolitical realities, Russia, which has its own ambitions, and the
European Union, which prior to Eastern Partnership plans, expressed
willingness to assist in Armenia's transformation. As to how the
Armenia-EU future relations would be characterized, by and large,
depends on Armenia and the geopolitical developments. We cannot turn a
blind eye to the reality that Russia is demonstrating a completely new
approach to post-Soviet countries. It was a big surprise for the
European Union, especially when after the Vilnius summit, Russia along
with political, economic and cultural influence applied also weapons.

What is currently going on in Ukraine was a shock for many. Now, the
EU's main task, I think, is to mitigate the situation in Ukraine and
regulation of relations with Russia, as the EU ` Russia relations,
nowadays, remind of a competition. Armenia is located in quite
sophisticated and interesting geographical and geopolitical crossroad.

Not only the RU-Russia relations, but also the developments in the
Middle East, the relations with Turkey, closed borders and so on are
competition for Armenia. Quite a sophisticated situation is created in
Armenia for the leaders, political leaders, civil society and the
public, in general, in the sense that a clarification should be made
on one issue: who you are and what you want. Armenia and Armenians
have one more peculiarity. It is the Diaspora. You have a great number
of influential figures abroad. A new situation is also created for
them: how they can be useful under the present situation and promote
the development of Armenia.

Interviewed by Nelly GRIGORYAN
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