Tag Archives: Armenian President

A new border-crossing point (BCP) in Bavra (Shirak marz) will now offer Armenian citizens many advantages: simplified procedures, reduced waiting times, modern infrastructure, equipment, and improved security. It will enhance Armenia’s regional connectivity by promoting international trade, transit and tourism.

ARS_1542On 1 October the official opening ceremony of the Bavra BCP was attended by the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Chairman of the Armenian State Revenue Committee, Vardan Harutyunyan, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, Bradley Busetto, the Head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Regional Representation for the South Caucasus, Sébastien Husson de Sampigny, Government officials responsible for border management, and representatives from International Organisations, Diplomatic Corps, and the Media. The construction and upgrade of Bavra BCP were done through the EU-funded and UNDP-implemented “Modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points of Armenia” (MBBG) project.

ARS_1594The new Bavra facility, together with the Bagratashen and Gogavan BCPs that were officially inaugurated on 4 November 2016, is one more step towards enhanced security and the provision of more efficient services by border agencies. However, facilities are only one part of the story. This modern BCP and professional border staff will help facilitate trade and the transit of goods, reduce associated time and costs, as well as make cross-border movement of people for business and social purposes more comfortable. Previously, under the 2017 European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) survey of Eastern Partnership BCPs, Bagratashen BCP (together with Zvartnots International Airport) scored highest in terms of traveller satisfaction with the border-crossing experience. Criteria included infrastructure, safety, professionalism of border officers, access to additional information, and facilities for children and the elderly.

ARS_1774Ambassador Świtalski congratulated all project partners for opening the third crossing point: ‘Opening this completely reconstructed BCP in Bavra is an excellent example of EU-Armenia cooperation to improve Armenia’s connectivity and support to its trade and economic development. The upgraded Bavra BCP is in line with international standards and designed to be convenient for both businesses and citizens. Together with the Bagratashen and Gogavan BCPs it will ensure 3 alternative routes for the movement of goods between Armenia, Georgia and beyond. They will stimulate the development of the marzes through which the routes pass. The EU is committed to continue supporting these initiatives and will work closely with all Armenian counterparts to replicate this design at other BCPs on the Armenian borders’.

ARS_1730Chairman Harutyunyan thanked all partners for their assistance on MBBG: ‘I am convinced that efforts from the Armenian Government and Governmental partners will continue this BCP modernisation process. Now the modernisation of Armenia’s southern border has begun in Meghri. Design and other estimates for the BCP have already started’.

De Sampigny talked about EIB assistance: ‘Iam pleased that EIB funding contributed to the upgrade of the three border crossings between Armenia and Georgia. Based on my personal experience, this will greatly facilitate people’s travel and exchange of goods; thus, it will benefit the whole region, as well as the European Union’.

ARS_1162Armenia received a €30.8 million EIB loan for MBBG to upgrade infrastructure and equipment at the three BCPs. This loan was complemented by a grant of €17.2 million from the European Union, and a Government contribution of €4.44 million. UNDP was the main implementer of the project and also made a financial contribution of €1.9 million.

086A2301On 2 October Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, visited Armenia to prepare for the Eastern Partnership Summit on 24 November in Brussels, Belgium. In the morning, Commissioner Hahn met with representatives of civil society and discussed EU-Armenia relations, the new EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement and Partnership Priorities, human rights, and democracy in Armenia. During his meeting with the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian, Hahn discussed similar topics, including the “20 deliverables for 2020” to be prepared for the upcoming summit. After the official meeting, they made statements to the press.

086A2406Commissioner Hahn spoke about upcoming Summit and future relations between the EU and Armenia: ‘We have discussed bilateral issues which are partly embedded into the Eastern Partnership Summit which is scheduled for the 24th of November in Brussels. It is in Brussels for the first time also to demonstrate the strong commitment of all the 28 EU Member States on the further development of the Eastern Neighbourhood. And it is not only on the particular interest of our Eastern European Member States, but it is in the interest of all the 28, expressed by the fact that we have convened this summit for the first time in Brussels. And that is why I have already referred in a particular item on this famous deliverables for 2020 which aim to bring tangible results and benefits to the daily lives of Armenian citizens’.

Full transcript of the statement is available: http://bit.ly/2zahLnb

086A2412Minister Nalbandian once again welcomed Commissioner Hahn to Yerevan and talked about the many EU activities in Armenia: ‘Armenia enjoys close ties with the European Union and intends to expand comprehensive cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. The EU provides valuable assistance for the ongoing reforms in our country. The agreement has been reached over the Partnership Priorities Document between Armenia and the European Union. I would like to specifically highlight that the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement has been finalised. The signing of the Agreement could become one of the main achievements of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in November. The preparatory work for the Brussels Summit has been an important part of our discussions with Commissioner Hahn. We exchanged views on the Final Declaration of the Summit. Encouraging people-to-people contact is an important part of the Armenia-EU agenda. We exchanged views on sectorial cooperation and touched upon the “20 Deliverables for 2020” document, which outlines the main Eastern Partnership directions for the next three years. I also briefed the Commissioner on the joint efforts of Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries towards the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Commissioner Hahn reaffirmed the full support of the European Union for the efforts of the Minsk Group’.

Full transcript of the statement is available: http://bit.ly/2zbOyYZ

After the press conference Hahn met the Armenian Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan with whom he discussed the future of EU-Armenia cooperation. This covered delivery of the Riga priorities for economic development and enhanced market opportunities, strengthening institutions and good governance, increasing connectivity, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and greater mobility and people-to-people contact.

22135635_1501482579905666_3896535799773529772_oDuring a meeting with the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, the Commissioner discussed the priorities of the Eastern Partnership Summit and the deepening of EU-Armenia relations. This improvement of relations is reflected in the new EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement and Partnership Priorities, which will set joint policy priorities for the coming years and provide new opportunities for close cooperation, trade and reform.

After the meeting Hahn met students at TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies, accompanied by Armenian Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan. The visit culminated in a presentation of the EU-funded anti-corruption mobile game “Tales of Neto”. Commissioner Hahn’s day ended with a cultural visit to the Megerian Carpet Museum.

On 24 May the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, led by its Chair David McAllister (EPP, DE), arrived in Armenia as part of a regional tour to the South Caucasus. After landing in Armenia, the 8 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) first went to Tsitsernakaberd, laid a wreath at the Genocide Memorial, and visited the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute.

ARS_2886The next day working agenda was busy. The delegation met with Armenian civil society representatives to exchange views on the current domestic and regional political situation, as well as on human rights protection in the country. Later, the MEPs met with the representatives of international organisations in Armenia. The next stop was Yerevan Regional State College #1. The MEPs were excited to visit the college and learn about its activities. The college is one of the 12 pilot vocational and educational training (VET) colleges included in the European Union’s budget support programme.

ARS_3286McAllister and the committee members met the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, the Chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, Ara Babloyan, parliamentarians from the ruling and opposition parties, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Edward Nalbandian. The committee’s visit concluded with a press conference.

ARS_3362McAllister thanked his Armenian hosts for their hospitality and spoke about the state of EU-Armenia relations: ‘Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and at the same time, it is signing this ambitious agreement with the European Union. This is the demonstration that our Eastern Partnership is not a zero-sum game, in competition against other regional actors. Instead, I strongly believe that cooperation of all responsible players is needed to find common solutions to problems that affect many people’s lives – I am thinking in particular of the relationship between Armenia and its neighbour Azerbaijan.
This next government will have many challenges to tackle, starting with the implementation of necessary reforms such as the reform of the judiciary, fight against corruption and anti-discrimination. Improving the business climate and creating economic growth opportunities to boost employment – especially of the young Armenians – is a strong expectation from the society, and rightly so’.

McAllister and the EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, answered many journalists’ questions, including those on the latest announcements of the OSCE Minsk Group, the closing of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, and alleged human rights violations.