New cooperation deal not opening up Armenia's path to Europe – Ukrainian analyst

18:45 • 07.09.17



The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) does not open up Armenia's unrestricted access to Europe as the country has chosen a different integration platform by becoming a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a Ukrainian journalist and publicist said Thursday.


In an interview with Tert.am, Vitaly Portnikov also ruled out Russian attempts to hamper the signing of the new cooperation document between the EU and Armenia.


“That's the kind of document which never virtually paves the way to Europe, as Armenia is on a different path - that of Eurasian integration, which is really not smooth,” he said.

 

Meantime, the analyst highlighted the economic advantages which Ukraine and Georgia have gained since the signing of the EU Association Agreement.

 

“The problems which Ukraine and Georgia faced were not due to the Association Agreements they had signed with the EU. Georgia and Ukraine always had territorial disputes with Russia, whereas the Association Agreements do really allow Kiev and Tbilisi to regulate and stabilize their economies. Ukraine and Georgia faced economic crisis long before their plans to develop cooperation with the EU,” he noted.

As for the possible scenario for Armenia in case of choosing European integration, Portnikov cited the opportunity to create a secure investment environment as the minimum benefit. “That’s not easily achievable in the light of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said, noting that the framework of Armenia’s investment partners remains largely restricted to Russia (which is currently facing sanctions) and Iran (which has only recently had international sanctions lifted).

“Armenia could not possibly work on any document running counter to its commitments to the EEU. Should Russia voice its opposition to the document just because it is being signed with the EU, it would simply be a sign of insanity. Certainly we have, over the past years, eye-witnessed certain manifestations of such insanity by Russia, but we have to wait and see what will happen this time,” he added.

Asked to comment on the West’s continuing interest to develop cooperation with Armenia, Portnikov highlighted the EU policy of building ‘comfortable’ relations with the neighbors.

 
 “The EU is trying, first of all, to create business-friendly areas to rule out problems for its neighbors and to try to create secure zones for its citizens. What the EU is doing now is just satisfying itself with what it possibly can under the current conditions,” he said.

 
Addressing the Armenian authorities’ policy of developing simultaneous cooperation with both the EU and the EEU, the analyst dismissed the possibility of a positive outcome.


“Ukraine, for many years, pursued multi-vector policies, doing everything possible to be present everywhere and to satisfy everybody. But that’s possible only in cases when the choice is between civilized [political] units. But when we deal with different civilizations - such as the West and Russia - the multi-vector policies definitely go into deadlock.

 

“As for Armenia, it isn't going into deadlock just now; it has been in a deadlock for long. So what the country needs at the moment is to maximum rapidly find its way out. Armenia, on the hand, seems to have opted for EEU integration, but on the other hand, it makes public statements at times that it isn’t abandoning the cooperation with the West or the western values. Hence, Armenia hasn't yet made its final choice,” Portnikov added.

Tigranuhi Martirosyan





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