EU gives new impetus for Armenia-cooperation and Turkey rapprochement
This week, the EU has strongly stepped up its support for Armenia, with a high-level visit to Yerevan by EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and an official statement by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton. Both steps were key demands expressed by EuFoA's Europe-Armenia Advisory Council (EAAC) in an Open Letter published in the European Voice on 10 February.
"The EU has welcomed the submission of the protocols to the Armenian parliament, which now should ratify them quickly. Meanwhile, it is clear that Turkey must now do much more than public statements to continue the process: they too must submit and ratify the protocols, signed by their Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu", comments Marie-Anne Isler-Béguin, member of the EAAC and former chair of the European Parliament's South Caucasus Delegation.
EuFoA strongly welcomes that the EU is now supporting the process more visibly.
"We may be in the last phase of a closing window of opportunity, if Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan continues his hostile public statements about a reconciliation with neighbouring Armenia, while President Gül merely tries to appease the world with friendly statements", says EuFoA Secretary General, Dr Michael Kambeck. "We cannot wait until 24 April and a possible clash of interests around the Genocide commemoration day. Everyone who can read diplomatic language can see that the EU, like the US and Russia, has understood that the ball is in the Turkish court", he says referring to Ashton's statement, which praises actions on the Armenian side but only words on the Turkish side.
Meanwhile, on 7 April, EU Commissioner Füle launched the so-called National Indicative Programme 2011-2013 for Armenia, which foresees an allocation of 157.3 million € for projects in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) context. On 2 March, another high-level EU delegation headed by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, representing the Spanish EU Presidency, visited Yerevan. Both visits and the start of the practical implementation of the EaP mark the deepening co-operation between the EU and Armenia. All EU initiatives aim at increasing the level of security, stability and prosperity in the whole South Caucasus region.
EuFoA is happy to provide commenting or background analysis in English, German, French, Italian, Russian and Armenian. Members of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Council may also be available for comments; for enquiries please contact our secretariat.
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Please click here to download the statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton.
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Published on Thursday 08 April 2010