10 փետրվար, 2016 19:56

Armenia-EU Negotiations: New Round of Problems and Prospects

Świtalski, head of the EU Delegation to ArmeniaThe EU will continue to support Armenia’s path to modernization but Armenia is still responsible for making the right decisions, explained Piotr Świtalski during a press conference on February 9.

Świtalski, head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, attempted to ease concerns regarding how Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union will affect the new framework agreement negotiations with the EU, launched last December. He explained that the agreement should be considered a starting point for new opportunities rather than a limitation, and pointed out that Armenia still has access to European markets.

He expressed understanding towards Armenia’s prioritized relationship with Russia and said that the EU comes as a friend, not to play geopolitics. Considering Armenia’s geographic and security situation, he argued, “Armenia should be interested in having as many friends as possible”. As for the Armenia-EU framework agreement, Świtalski says it is to create solid, legal bases for the relations, the like of which is needed in any bilateral relations.  

Świtalski also discussed corruption, human rights and the electoral system, noting that the recent OSCE/ODIHR report on the constitutional referendum should be taken seriously. He also called the 2017 elections a “crucial moment” for Armenia’s transition towards a parliamentary system that will determine whether Armenians can trust their government.

“Armenians should care about their international image,” he said, and unless the ruling party, the opposition and civil society all work to address such issues while striving towards European values, then “there will always be a crack on the international image of Armenia.”

A self-proclaimed optimist, Świtalski repeatedly shared his hope that Armenia will progress in the right way.