EU-Armenia agreement ‘had to be coordinated’ with EEU member states - opinions

14:10 • 13.11.17



Armenia enjoys enough sovereignty to decide itself its cooperation format with the EU, hence the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) did not absolutely need any power’s special approval, according to an economist.


Atom Margaryan, the head of the Center for Innovative and Institutional Research (Armenian State University of Economics), admits at the same time the country had to conduct consultations and coordinate certain provision with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) “due to the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) issue”.


“Those provisions are naturally coordinated; this is why I am sure there is no specificity,” he told Tert.am.


Vazgen Safaryan, the head of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Financial-Credit and Budgetary Affairs, also agreed that despite the certain degree of independence, a range of issues "had to be agreed upon".


The economist said he also has serious concerns that the EU may not be much interested in Armenia’s progress, treating the country as just an excess raw exporter”.


“So we shouldn’t expect great investments in our economy given that the loans and grants were largely in the infrastructures,” he added.  


The Agreement is expected to be signed on the sidelines of the EU Eastern Partnership countries’ November 24 summit in Brussels.


Commenting upon the possible hazards, Khachikyan said he also observes a political pretext.


 “What gives me trouble is Turkey’s [developing partnership] with Russia and the warming of relations as we are heading towards Europe. We faced such a situation in 1920 and suffered tremendous losses as a result,” he said, stressing the importance of specific and well-timed work by the Foreign Ministry.


Safaryan noted that despite the “proportionally developing cooperation” with both supranational bodies, Armenia exports to the EEU include ready-made products as opposed to the EU exports “which are basically raw metals”.


 “Therefore our integration into the EEU offers higher advantages. Also, we have many compatriots who work in the EEU [member states] and send private transfers. That also contributes to improving the negative balance in our external trade,” he said, highlighting the annual 22% increase in the EEU exports.


Margaryan only partially shared the parliament official’s concern that Armenia may run into a serious trouble in case of signing the EU agreement. He noted that Turkey’s attempts to accede to the Union were never crowned with success despite the decades-long persistent efforts. Safaryan also highlighted the economic component underlying Eurasian integration (as opposed to “geopolitical aims” of the EU).


“Yes, Turkey had turned into a threat for the EU, having exhausted all its chances to gain any benefit. As for its step towards EEU [integration], it is in a nascent phase now. We know that Russia and Turkey are centuries-old foes, with history testifying to their wars after periods of peace,” he noted.

 

Nelly Lazaryan





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