Tag Archives: council

On 13 July 2016, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, met with the Chairman of the Civil Service Council (CSC) of the Republic of Armenia, Manvel Badalyan, and answered questions from the press on the current status of civil service reform. The two senior civil servants also presented the results of a larger EU-project to advance civil service reforms in Armenia, and to share the plans for further collaboration between Armenia and the EU in this area.
Ambassador Świtalski stressed the importance of the role of the civil service in the life of the country: ‘I am very glad to say that the EU cooperates very closely with the CSC; I can say that it is a very fruitful collaboration. We are very satisfied with the atmosphere and the very constructive spirit. Supporting the modernisation of public service in Armenia is very high on our list of priorities. Those of you who attended my press conference on the new EU Global Strategy will remember a top priority is to reinforce state and societal resilience, and efficient, effective and structured state institutions. From our perspective, the civil service is the backbone of competent and efficient administration; therefore, our modernisation support to Armenia aims at building a strong, depoliticised civil service. We are supporting civil service reform in different ways, including technical support. We are also working with SIGMA partners, experts in the field, to support drafting the new law on the civil service in Armenia’.
Chairman Badalyan thanked the EU for its continued support and efforts to modernise the Armenia civil service: ‘We have discussed a wide range of issues that have already been implemented in EU member states; we can apply their success here in Armenia. As one of the EaP countries, we see our development in the light of European standards, achievements and good practice. The EU supports the development and improvement of the civil service through its Multi-sector Budget Support Programme, through the SIGMA expert team (a joint initiative of the EU and the OECD), the “Support to Civil Service Reform in Armenia” project, the Eastern Partnership Panel on Public Administration Reform, and the TAIEX instrument. In 2015, with the support of EU experts from SIGMA and the “Support to Civil Service Reform in Armenia” project, the CSC drafted the “RA Civil Service Reforms Strategy” and the “Action Plan for the Implementation of the RA Civil Service Reforms Strategy.” On December 29 2015, the Armenian government adopted the strategy’.
The reforms are targeted at establishing a citizen-orientated, professional, and merit-based civil service system, in line with the modern principles, standards, and international best practices of public administration. The reforms will continue until 2020, by which time Armenia should have an entirely new civil service system in place.
The CSC has cooperated with the EU for almost a decade. In 2009, on the initiative of the CSC, a SIGMA expert team conducted a comprehensive study and assessment of the civil service system of Armenia, revealing its strengths and weaknesses.
With the aim of improving the system, the EU is implementing the “Support to Civil Service Reforms in Armenia” project and involving local and international experts to support the CSC. This takes the form of studying the best European practices on civil service reforms, providing methodological and expert assistance for the implementation of reforms, organising study visits to EU member states, and consulting EU experts on various matters.

On 4 December 2015 the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Culture and Creativity Programme, supported by the European Union in Armenia, was officially launched at the Cafesjian Centre for the Arts. The programme is aimed at making culture and creativity a source of income by taking the experiences of European countries into account.
The programme will be implemented in 6 EaP countries; Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. While it is a regional programme, it will be heavily country focused. The programme will run for three years with a budget of €4.2 million.
12341170_932400963480500_3536446454691660206_nThe Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, congratulated the programme launch and noted that Armenians had been precious to European heritage. The Ambassador recommended that participants to make best use of this opportunity, make as many European friends as possible, and develop contacts to help them be part of a bigger European family: ‘Armenians are part of European heritage, a very precious part. We at European Union Delegation would like to put special emphasis on having open windows, open channels, and open doors linking Armenia with the cultural developments in the European Union, because it is part of your identity’.
The culture and creativity sub-sector supports 7% of international GDP income. Cultural and creative industries are growing faster than manufacturing and services. The culture and creative sub-sectors include architecture, archives, libraries and museums, arts and crafts, audiovisual media (film, television, video games and multimedia), tangible and intangible cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, literature, performing arts, publishing, radio, and visual arts. The number of young employees in these sectors in EU countries is the highest; indeed, they are now the third biggest employer in the region. If the profit of the culture and creativity sub-sectors in Great Britain is €11 million per hour, then it can offer Armenia considerable incentive to develop these sectors.
The Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme will support policy development and capacity building in these sectors. Programme activities will be carried out through workshops, intensive training, online learning platforms, study visits and partnership fairs, bringing together public and private actors, government and civil society.
Following a competitive tendering process, the programme will be managed by a consortium led by the British Council, in partnership with Soros Foundation Moldova, the National Centre for Culture of Poland, and the Goethe Institut. The Programme builds on the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme I (2011-2014), that consisted of technical assistance and grant-funded projects.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, arrived in Armenia on a regional visit on 20 July, 2015. During his stay in Armenia he visited the “Memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims” and “Armenian Genocide Museum Institute”.
ARS_2686Later on the same day he had a meeting with the Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan. The parties discussed a wide range of issues related to the strengthening and deepening of bilateral cooperation. Reiterating their commitment to continue the joint efforts in the fields of human rights, democracy, rule of law, public administration and a number of other spheres, the interlocutors discussed the progress in the talks on the new framework agreement between the EU and Armenia, looked at ways of promoting free communication and movement of citizens, reviewed the ongoing negotiations over a common aviation area with the EU and further more.
Both sides expressed confidence that the new framework agreement between the EU and Armenia will help to boost bilateral relations and develop a multifaceted cooperation.
“As President of the European Council, I am convinced that Armenia is an important partner in the region and the EU is ready to reinvigorate interaction in the wake of the Riga summit. We will help you push ahead with your reform agenda which is quite ambitious. I am confident that it will take effect owing to your personal commitment,” Donald Tusk noted.
ARS_2925“The EU has been and remains a major partner of Armenia due to the fact that our cooperation is first and foremost underpinned by shared values. Armenia is ready to continue cooperating with the EU in a bid to promote reforms, efficient governance, democracy, human rights, as well as to boost economic exchanges and cooperate in other fields of mutual interest,” the Prime Minister said.
After his meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the delegation led by him met with the Armenian President. After bilateral negotiations EC president and Armenian president held a joint press conference.
In his speech Donald Tusk talked about the EU-Armenia relations and regional issues. “Firstly, I would like to thank you for the possibility of visiting the Genocide Memorial. This was my second visit, and was as moved as during my first visit. We have had a good discussion on a wide range of issues; on EU-Armenia relations, the Eastern Partnership and wider regional issues. We discussed the situation regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. Recent negative trends are a cause for concern. The peaceful resolution of this conflict remains a priority for the European Union. The European Union supports the negotiations aimed at settling the conflict led by the OSCE Minsk Group.
ARS_3154Armenia has chosen not to make use of the European Union’s offer of an Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. This is a choice that the European Union fully respects. We still stand ready to deepen our relations by working together to open markets and by advancing on democratic reforms, economic growth, regional integration, a better business-investment climate, and sustainable development. We have just successfully completed the first stage of discussions on a new, comprehensive bilateral agreement. In this agreement we have identified areas for future cooperation. One important area in our cooperation is to make it easier to travel between Armenia and the European Union. Armenia can count on the European Union’s continued support to advance on a whole range of political and social reforms, and to improve the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The European Union supports the work of civil society in Armenia and I encourage a closer involvement of the civil society in the reform process to broaden the perspective and ensure common ownership. This year is decisive for our relations”.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan expressed his satisfaction with the talks that they had. “We are keen on broadening relations with the European Union, one of our key partners, during Mr. Tusk’s tenure, which, I am sure will contribute to the long-lasting constructive dialogue existing between us. We stated that Armenia-European Union relations keep on developing dynamically. This bears testimony to the fact that there are a mutual political will and commitment, and, most importantly, a set of shared values that underlie our development path. I am confident that we will continue to intensify our relations and work towards further deepening of democratic processes and reforms in Armenia. This is illustrated both by our active collaboration with European countries at a bilateral level, and by the ongoing work with different EU institutions. Touching upon the results of the fourth Eastern Partnership Summit held from 21 to 22 May this year, we expressed satisfaction with the fact that in Riga, we managed to confirm our commitment to promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and partner countries based on a differentiated approach. I am hopeful that in the near future we will start negotiations on a new EU-Armenia legal document the successful end of which will open a new chapter in our bilateral relations”.
After their speeches high ranking officials responded to the journalists’ questions. Most of the journalists were interested in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and EU-Armenia new bilateral agreement.