EU expansion?

EU expansion?

It has become obvious in recent years that the lack of progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict makes Armenia a hostage of its own policy, plunging it ever deeper into the crisis and isolation in the region. It was stated several times that a fair and peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will open new prospects for a number of regional economic projects, which Yerevan will be able to join. However, right now even Russia and Kazakhstan - Armenia's partners in the CSTO and the EEU - build economic and strategic relations with Azerbaijan, bypassing Armenia. Vestnik Kavkaza presents an article of British Publication Daily Express on what steps can Yerevan take to resolve this situation.

Arnemia and Brussels leaders are set to put pen to paper on a partnership deal between the war-ridden country and the European Union. The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement was finalised in time for president Serzh Sargsyan’s visit to Brussels earlier this week. European Council president Donald Tusk after Monday’s talks said it will “broaden the scope of our relations”. In an interview with Euronews, president Sargsyan said: “Because of the will of both sides, this agreement isn’t so much different from the previous one. They are no much different in political part, we have to make sure there are no contradictions with our commitments to the Eurasian Economic Agreement, which we are a member of.”

Armenia has close ties with Russia, with Moscow supplying energy to the nation as well as maintaining a constant military presence there. President Putin’s troops have conducted several military exercises there amid heightened tension with the West. However, president Sargsyan has stressed Armenia’s closer integration with the EU will bring Europe closer to Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union. He said: “At the very beginning of the negotiations, our understanding was that we can have both – the association agreement with the EU and close integration with the Eurasian Economic Union.”

In a show of defiance to Moscow, president Sargsyan added: “Russians never told us we could never sign such an agreement, they told us, ‘You can, but you’ll have to pay for energy at world market price.’” The Armenian leader has used the potential deal, which could be signed as early as May, as a springboard to bring Nato and Russia together. “I’ve met with the Nato secretary general. I invited him to Armenia for us to celebrate our work of the past 25 years,” he added. “We don’t see any contradiction between this partnership and our alliance with Russia within the framework of the CSTO.”

On a lighter note, president Sargsyan was happy to crack a joke by suggesting Manchester United star Henrikh Mkhitaryan has already been a “good export” to Europe from Armenia.  “We have many famous people like Henrikh Mkhitaryan or chess player Levon Aronian, we have Olympic champions,” he said. “I think we can be useful for the European Union with the exports of our wonderful agricultural products, IT is also very rapidly developing in Armenia, however, first of all, we can be a reliable and predictable neighbour for the EU.”

British Foreign Office advises against travel to areas affected by the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, which have causes fierce clashes between the two nations. On the night of February 24, the Armenian army attempted to infiltrate through Azerbaijani positions along the line of contact and seize favourable positions on the frontline. However, the attack failed after Azerbaijani forces pushed back in a heavy battle. The neighbouring country’s defence ministry has claimed Armenia’s armed forces have violated ceasefire terms 265 times on March 3.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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