Armenian parliament to debate holding EU membership referendum

By Paul Vartan Sookiasian

Armenia’s parliament will debate holding a referendum on applying for membership in the European Union. In a statement, parliament said hearings will be held this Friday.

The initiative was welcomed by Armen Yeghoyan, a parliamentarian from the ruling Civil Contract party and chairman of the Standing Committee on European Integration Issues.

To pass, Armenian law stipulates that the referendum must be approved by more than half of the voters. It also requires that not less than one third of all eligible voters in the country participate in the election.

While for most of its history Armenia maintained a strategic alliance with Russia, that relationship has frayed in recent years. Yerevan accuses Moscow of failing to uphold its mutual defense obligations when Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan in 2022.

Following that war, Armenia rejected a proposed Russian-led monitoring border observer mission and instead accepted one from the European Union, part of what some observers have called Armenia’s “westward pivot.”

In February, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated Armenia is ready to be as close to the European Union as the body deems possible.

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