Merkel heard what she wanted to hear in Armenia
As part of the South Caucasus tour, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Armenia, where the visit was called historic. Germany is Armenia's third largest trade partner after Russia and China. According to the National Statistical Service, in the first half of this year Armenian-German trade increased by 53.6% compared to the same period of last year to $216.6 million. Armenia exports copper, ferromolybdenum and aluminum foil production to Germany, in recent years clothes and other goods also have been exported in small amounts. There are 150 companies with German capital in Armenia, the largest of which is the Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum Combine.
Armenia imports more than 800 types of goods from Germany, including cars, medicines, household items, various equipment. For more than 20 years, Germany has been a donor country for Armenia and contributed to its reforms, as well as the development of hydropower and regional structures. Merkel highly appreciated the peaceful nature of the "velvet" revolution, which took place in the spring and said that Germany "wants to help Armenia in making these bold changes." During the visit, the sides specified areas for deepening cooperation. In particular, they discussed education, research and economics.
Armenian experts drew attention to the fact that Merkel's visit coincided with the new conditions that emerged in the country after the "April" revolution: an active fight against corruption, the creation of more healthy and equal business conditions, the protection of small and medium-sized businesses from the previous heavy taxation burden. These and other circumstances can play a significant role in providing a new impulse in the development of bilateral relations, including attracting German investments in the Armenian economy.
"In political terms, we have a dynamic and reliable partnership with Germany, however, the great economic potential has not been used yet," Armenian Ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatyan said.
During the Chancellor's visit, foreign policy issues were also discussed. Merkel again advocated the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They also touched on Armenia's cooperation with the EU, including the implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia does not build foreign policy on the principles of counterbalance and has no intention to make sharp changes in its foreign policy: "We intend to develop relations with Russia within the Eurasian Economic Union and CSTO. At the same time, we intend to develop relations with the EU." In response, the German Chancellor expressed the opinion that Armenia could serve as an example of how a country can cooperate with Russia and the European Union at the same time.
Armenian experts note that against the background of the processes taking place in some post-Soviet republics, namely their aspirations to enter the EU and NATO, the European leader heard what she wanted to hear in Armenia. Given a number of serious issues, including Russia's painful reaction to these trends, the Germans seek to place the issues of possible accession of the former Soviet republics to the EU on hold. Given the existence of certain contradictions between Germany and the United States, Berlin seeks to find the right format for its relations with Russia, avoiding all sorts of problems and complications in every possible way.