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The European Union promotes secure, competitive, and sustainable energy in its member states. In 2015, the Framework Strategy for Energy Union was launched as one of the European Commission’s 10 Priorities. The aim of strategy is providing secure, sustainable, competitive, and affordable energy. The EU also supports the energy sector in its neighbourhood.
The EU supports many projects in Armenia to ensure its commitment to sustainable energy development and to boost the country’s potential for renewable energy and energy security. The EU, together with its partners and the Government of Armenia, has long supported a large number of reforms and projects. Their aim is to help Armenian communities to take steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. The cooperation between the EU and Armenia aims to diversify energy resources in the country and make it less dependent on imported energy.
To highlight its strong partnership with Armenia in enhancing energy efficiency and renewable energy, the EU organised #EU4EnergyDays. From 26-29 September series of events were organised to highlight the impact of EU-funded renewable, alternative and sustainable energy programmes that contribute to policy development and best practice exchange in Armenia. All of the events held had different topics and were attended by a wide range of beneficiaries and stakeholders.

Energy efficiency in Armenia
The EU supports renewable energy, energy security and efficiency reforms in Armenia to benefit its citizens. A public discussion on ‘Residential energy efficiency in Armenia’ was the first the EU4Energy Day event. Discussions covered the Armenian government’s approach to residential energy efficiency and saving, and current challenges to residential investment. The event was organised as part of the EU-funded “Access to renewable and efficient energy in the municipalities of Vayk and Spitak” project. This project will implement energy-saving and -efficiency measures, such as upgrades and new insulation in roofs, doors, windows and building envelopes in 45 residential buildings – 27 in Spitak and 19 in Vayk, including the Vayk House of Culture. 145 photovoltaic solar panels will be installed to address lighting system upgrades for the entrances, staircases and courtyards of selected residential buildings.
img_0368The EU’s support also extends to businesses. In times of rising energy prices, efficiency is a priority. Energocredit, a programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funded by the EU and the Austrian Ministry of Finance, helps individuals and businesses to find the right measures to reduce energy consumption and to finance energy efficient investment. An energy-efficiency forum was organised to discuss how to apply, how to benefit from and how to build more a sustainable, competitive economy in Armenia. Energocredit provides loans for companies to invest in efficient equipment in various sectors and industries such as agriculture, construction, production, transport, and many others supporting businesses to cut energy use and costs.
_mg_0444_1The Head of Cooperation section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, attended the forum. He stressed EU support for energy efficiency: ‘Energy efficiency and renewable energy are crucial parts of the EU’s commitment to mitigate global warming. We believe that the Armenian government will launch incentives for energy-efficient investment and the EU will support the government and Armenian citizens to promote efficiency and independent use of alternative energy resources’.

Within the energy week a workshop was organised to review and discuss the current state and development trends of the national energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RES) policy in Armenia. Participants explored lessons learned, as well as the role of innovation in promoting EE/RES, and came up with policy recommendations to promote EU cooperation in this field. This event brought together research and industry representatives motivated to explore possible cooperation on innovation and technology transfer in EE/RES through the EU-funded Horizon 2020 programme.

Workshops and seminars on energy efficiency and alternative energy

A series of workshops and lectures were held in Yerevan to on how to use energy efficiently, and alternative energy and heating sources in Armenia.
img_9413American University in Armenia held a three-day workshop on rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with Professor Peter Gevorkian, a leading expert in solar power generation and author of several technical books on the subject. The workshop was aimed at providing the technological know-how to build Armenia’s solar power-generation capacity, solar PV system design and construction, risk management, and economic assessment.
One more event, ‘Green talks’, focused on the benefits of PV panels and alternative energy. Two field experts gave presentations on how to produce solar energy efficiently. However, alternative energy comes not only from the PV panels. Another seminar, ‘How to save energy: farmers and producers’, investigated how biomass could be useful for rural communities in Armenia and how farmers could benefit.
img_1555Interested parties from Europe and Armenia gathered in Ashtarak to discuss how energy cooperatives could work in Armenia. The aim was to develop alternative, gender-sensitive, and feasible business models for renewable energy and energy efficiency, both technically and with regard to current legal and economic conditions.
This EU4Energy four-day initiative featured panel discussions to raise awareness on residential energy efficiency, to communicate the achievements of and prospects for municipal energy savings, to have in-depth discussions on energy-efficiency policies and financing opportunities for the business sector, and to hold energy talks with schoolchildren.

Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, delivered a lecture at the American University of Armenia (AUA) on 27 March 2015. The lecture was organised within the framework of the “Ambassadorial lecture series” with the EU member-states Ambassadors and the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia. These lectures are organised by Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, the Chair in Armenia of the Jean Monnet sub-programme in the framework of the EU-funded “Lifelong Learning” programme. The lecture was intended to representatives of the academia, civil society and students.
Ambassador Hristea started his lecture with underlining that the European Union is destined to be a key partner for all countries in their neighbourhood, while defending their right to choose independently their own way forward of sovereign development. “The European Neighbourhood Policy was created to build new partnerships with the EU’s direct neighbours, based on shared values, stability and prosperity. Those fundamental objectives remain as valid today as they were when the ENP was launched more than ten years ago; indeed, they are now more important than ever.
ARS_5449The situation in Europe’s neighbourhood has changed dramatically since the ENP has been in place. Growing challenges to a number of Eastern Partnership countries, from the crisis in Georgia in 2008 to the on-going conflict in Ukraine”.
The ambassador touched also upon important subjects like the crises in Syria and Libya, the complex transition in Egypt and the war that is unfolding in Yemen. As to the EU-Armenia relations the Head of the EU Delegation emphasised that Armenian government and the EU institutions are cooperating together quite well and the input from the civil society will be an invaluable contribution to the ENP review and to the implementation and future development of the Eastern Partnership within a reviewed ENP. He added that the EU would like to continue to strengthen the cooperation with Armenia. EU has been exploring with Armenia the possible scope of future bilateral cooperation bearing in mind Armenia’s other international commitments. EU is prepared to further support Armenia in areas such as good governance, human rights, fighting corruption, reforming the judiciary, implementation of the mobility partnership and the visa facilitation and readmission agreements in force with the EU. The EU will continue supporting the country’s modernisation efforts and will continue encouraging necessary reforms in Armenia.
The EU will also continue to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) Development in Armenia, human rights protection, reforms in electoral system, torture prevention, provide greater protection against discrimination of persons belonging to minorities, people with disabilities and to other vulnerable groups, develop effective gender equality mechanisms and protection of victims of domestic/gender-based violence, and improve child protection system.
“So, in the new ENP the messages will probably remain the same: but we should seek new ways to deliver our messages, and to be heard. We are looking for concrete ideas that will deliver results in the short to medium term, and ones the public can understand. And here we see a crucial role for you, students, representatives of the civil society and academia, in giving this review visibility on the ground in your country and in ensuring that your views on the ENP are fed back to us,”- stated Ambassador.