Tag Archives: EaP

A high-level conference was held on 26-27 October, 2016 in Yerevan to celebrate 20 years of local government in Armenia. Representatives of central, regional and local authorities from across the Eastern Partnership (EaP) gathered in Armenia’s capital to launch new EU support initiatives for local sustainable development and economic growth in EaP.
The EU has officially launched the new “Mayors for Economic Growth initiative” (M4EG) and the second phase of the Covenant of Mayors East (CoM East), which target business and energy efficiency respectively. These actions are aimed at fostering cooperation between local authorities and civil society organisations to enhance accountability, exchange good practices, and strengthen municipalities’ capacity to be efficient and effective administrators and promoters of local development. By encouraging public-private partnerships, these initiatives are also expected to contribute to the creation of new job opportunities at the local level and increase GDP per capita growth.
The event was organised by the European Commission, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of the Republic of Armenia, the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), and CoM East.
14522809_1141089429278318_1092564134457294953_nThe Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, addressed conference participants, stressing the importance of effective and accountable local governance : ‘The European Union realises that the capacity of local authorities to be effective development players depends on the existence of effective relations with other levels of governance and conducive national frameworks. Local authorities are important agents which should have their own development agendas coherent with national policies. Regional development is essential, because the gap between Yerevan and the regions is high. The EU is trying to help Armenia narrow this gap’.
Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Davit Lokyan echoed the Ambassador’s sentiment: ‘Strengthening local democracy will create such conditions that will ensure more active participation in the formation of local authorities. Our goal is to have more vibrant communities, large and financially stable communities, and transparent and fair management at the local level to ensure that people are able to solve vital issues in cooperation with local government’.
The conference also marked the signing ceremony of 25 new local authorities from EaP countries joining the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. On the second day of the conference discussions focused on the prospects and benefits of a new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in EaP countries.

The European Union has long supported large-scale reforms and projects to develop a supportive environment for doing business in Armenia. With innovation, trade and SME development seen as key pillars of economic growth, the EU is ready to help Armenia achieve further development objectives.
As a part of these efforts, the EU and its partners have organised a second EU4Business week during 2016. This second initiative will run from 24-28 October 2016 and include a variety of events. The week kicked off with a panel discussion on “Investing in SMEs in the Eastern partnership counties”.
14718693_1139411682779426_1965376826679088819_nThis panel, the 8th Business Development Panel, focused on innovation as an essential tool for boosting competitiveness on both the regional and national level. The panel officially launched the pilot version of the EU4Business website. This website will make EU support to businesses more accessible and visible. Country-specific EU4Business webpages in local languages will follow soon.
The panel was followed by a press conference, in which the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and the Armenian Deputy Minister of Investment and Development, Garegin Melkonyan, participated. Ambassador Świtalski stressed the importance of this second initiative: ‘This week is one of the most important weeks of our year. EU4Business Week, starting today, makes Armenia the centre of various events and activities that highlight the EU’s role in supporting economic development, innovation and business across the entire Eastern Partnership. We believe that economic resilience is very important for both ourselves and countries like Armenia. We pay particular attention to supporting economic development and to offering best possibilities for cooperation both regionally and within the EU. The choice to launch the initiative through the Business Development Panel was symbolic, as it is SMEs which provide the vast majority of job opportunities; therefore, economic opportunities linked to SMEs are significant. EU4Business is a strong signal of the EU’s commitment to support business, to directly benefit the real economy, and to increase the country’s and the region’s competitiveness’.
First Deputy Melkonyan echoed this sentiment: ‘I welcome the launch of the EU4Business week in Yerevan and extend my gratitude to our European partners for this outstanding initiative. Armenia attaches great importance to EU assistance provided through the Eastern Partnership to implement economic reforms. We share a special focus on ensuring and deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation. In this regard, competitive and effective SMEs are one of the most important preconditions for economic development in our country’.

Armenia hosted the first meeting of the conference for regional and local authorities of the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) on 18 September 2015. Local and regional representatives from the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries, which form the bureau of CORLEAP, came to Yerevan to take part in the events. The members approved an action plan for 2016-2017 and reaffirmed their commitment to pursue common goals.
CORLEAP was established by the committee of the regions (CoR) in 2011 to bring a regional and local dimension to the EU’s Eastern Partnership. CORLEAP brings together 36 regional and local politicians – including 18 from the CoR representing the EU and 18 from Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).
The Eastern Partnership Summit of Heads of State and Government in Riga in May recognised the work of CORLEAP in promoting cooperation at the regional and municipal level of government, and called for the European Commission to ensure appropriate, targeted support to local and regional authorities in the Eastern Partnership. The CORLEAP action plan for 2016-2017, approved by the bureau members in Yerevan, defines priorities for further actions regarding decentralisation, capacity building and funding opportunities for local and regional authorities in Eastern Partnership countries.
ARS_3164During the press conference in Yerevan, CORLEAP co-chair, President of the Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula, gave a regional overview: ‘Many factors contribute to an improved business environment, and to cross-border and territorial cooperation in the region. The Riga Summit was the starting point for further developing comprehensive cooperation with EU in all areas of mutual interest. Member states endorsed our requests for new financial means to be used for territorial development and capacity building at the local level. We also support a customised, tailor-made approach that should be adopted by the EU in relation to expectations, possibilities and tasks for any specific partner country, including Armenia’.
Emin Yeritsyan, the Co-chair representing the Eastern Partnership countries, outlined areas of reform: ‘Our continued focus will be on decentralisation and public administration reform, while providing a forum for exchange of best practices in different fields. The ongoing territorial administration reform in Armenia can serve as a good example to other partner countries. We also aim to facilitate our local and regional authorities’ access to EU funding and provide advice on effective and sound public financial management’.

A two-day conference on disaster risk management was held in Yerevan on 3 -4 December, initiated by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia and the NGO “Emergency Channel”. The conference was aimed at addressing emergency information and communication issues as integral parts of disaster risk reduction (DRR), and at compiling global best practices on public awareness. The conference was organised in relation to the second phase of the EU-funded “Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-Made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership East Region” programme (PPRD 2).
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, noted that DRR required joint cooperation and consistent attention on both the regional and local level: ‘EU support is a key expression of solidarity towards Armenia. Over the past years the EU has contributed to DRR in Armenia, to which it is vulnerable as a result of its geography. In this regard, the EU has launched several initiatives, including this project’.
IMG_8285 PPRD 2 is a continuation of EU support to civil protection and disaster risk management in the Eastern Neighbourhood and a follow-up to the PPRD East programme (PPRD 1). PPRD 1 was implemented over 45 months in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and was successfully concluded on 16 September 2014. PPRD 2 will focus on 5 hazards: floods, earthquakes, landslides, wild fires and industrial hazard.