Armenia and EU finish associate membership talks, but no agreement published so far, experts say

Armenia and the European Union have finished their talks concerning the country's associate membership in the body, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and EU commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy Štefan Füle say.

"We are delighted to confirm that the talks devoted to the EU-Armenian agreement on the country's associate membership are finished," the statement issued by the two EU officials read.

They believe the agreement will be approved during the Eastern Partnership summit that is going to be held in Vilnius on November 29th.

VK asked three experts to comment on the agreement and EU-Armenian relations. The head of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Ruben Safrasyan, stresses that the text of the agreement has not been published so far. This means that certain provisions remain unknown and it's hard to make a final judgement, the expert says. He doesn't believe, however, that the agreement will play a serious role in Armenia's foreign policy.

Andrey Areshev, a member of the Central Asia and Caucasus Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also believes that the fact that the agreement has not been published yet is very peculiar. The expert is certain that Armenian society is interested in public discussion of the process, which may be rather complicated since the European states and the countries of the South Caucasus are based on different values.

Alexander Karavayev, a member of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, agrees with his colleagues that it's hard to comment on the agreement while its text has not been published. He says, however, that some experts believe that a free trade regime with the EU will encourage a 3 percent economic growth in Armenia.