11, 2008

President Serzh Sargsyan conducted working meeting pertaining Armenia-EU relations

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Today, at the working meeting conducted by President Sargsyan, discussed was the whole range of issues pertaining to the Armenia-EU relations. The meeting was attended by the members of the National Security Council, members of the Government, and the leaders of relevant structures.

The President of Armenia presented the details of his visit to Brussels and raised certain issues related to a further enhancement of the relations with the European Union.

Serzh Sargsyan noted that the agenda of his visit to Brussels was pretty packed – in three days he held over twenty meetings with almost the entire leadership of the European Union. He also gave a number of interviews to some of the leading European news agencies.

The main impression of the President of these meetings was that the European structures, their representatives are obviously pleased with the level of relations with Armenia and the accomplished works. Second, there is good will to continue and deepen the relations, and to implement more daring programs.

The President said that naturally during these meetings discussed were also more general issues, the Armenian-Turkish relations and the NK peace process, however the main topic of the discussions was the EU-Armenia action plan and the specific problems which in Armenia’s opinion the EU should address on the road toward a deeper bilateral cooperation.

Stressing the desire of our country to get more connected with Europe, Serzh Sargsyan said, “on this stage the Armenian side proposes to soften up the visa regime to facilitate the contacts between our citizens, to create equal opportunities for trade, which would facilitate granting a market economy status to our country, and the signing of the trade agreement.” According to the President, the agreement has been reached to easy up the visa regime and to establish presently in our country, together with the EU Committee for Justice and Freedoms, a subcommittee to deal with the reforms in the judicial and legal areas. The agreement has been reached with EU Commissioner for Trade to dispatch a group of expert-advisers to Armenia in December. Together with the Armenian officials they will develop a precise time table of actions. Another document has been signed on sending a group of EU advisers to Armenia to facilitate the implementation of the action plan.

Stressing that there was a mutual willingness to deepen the relations, the President of Armenia said, “This work should be treated by us not as a program, which we have vowed to implement but rather as a work which provides us the opportunity to continue with the reforms in our country. And it is indeed an instrument for reformation.”

In Serzh Sargsyan’s opinion, the new plan of actions most probably will be included in the framework of the EU Eastern Policy and will have two distinctive features: first, the component of the regional cooperation will become more prominent and highlighted, and the second, participants to the Policy will be provided with different formats and different levels of evolvement, depending on the country’s readiness to deliver.

The President of Armenia instructed to work on the program with the utmost seriousness and tasked the Ministers and the Heads of relevant structures to keep under personal control the activities carried out in their respective areas.

At the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian presented the process of the implementation of the program and activities conducted during 2008 on different directions, noting that these activities were started back in 2007. Minister Nalbandian also said that Armenia would present the report on the activities conducted in 2008 on December 9 in Brussels, during the EU Ministerial meeting.

The Secretary of the National Security Council, Arthur Baghdassarian spoke about the activities of the interagency commission on cooperation with the European structures and noted that based on the proposals of all concerned Ministries and agencies a new, rather ambitious plan for action has been set up which could become a good base for the discussions and future cooperation.

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