Tag Archives: Gregory Tsouris

On 13 April the “EU4Civil Society: Energy Efficiency in Armenian Communities” project was officially launched. The Armenian National Social Housing Association (ASBA), together with partners from Holland, Germany, and Czech Republic, will implement the project to address energy poverty in rural communities by increasing awareness, improving energy use. The two-year project has a total budget of €372,231, of which EU contribution is €335,000.
Energy poverty is a growing problem in Armenia, especially in rural areas. A recent study done by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe suggests that at least 30% of the Armenian population can be considered energy poor, i.e. they have to spend more than 50% of total family income on energy and heating. Local civic groups and organisations lack the knowledge and resources to support communities address energy poverty. Therefore, this project will build the capacities of regional NGOs and media from five Armenian marzes to work with urban and rural communities to improve energy efficiency in each location. Local civil society organisations and community groups will increase awareness among their populations on energy-efficiency methods and practices, mobilise community resources, and engage in effective partnership with local municipalities and private companies to improve energy efficiency.
The Deputy Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Gregory Tsouris, and the Armenia’s First Deputy Minister Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia, Vache Terteryan participated in the launch event and held opening speeches.

ARS_6431Tsouris highlighted the steps Armenia was taking to improve energy efficiency: ’Energy efficiency is one of the priorities of cooperation between the European Union and Armenia. Energy efficiency has a place in the recently signed EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), underpinned and strengthened by various initiatives. This project will play an important role in improving the situation, as energy poverty is a growing problem. This project will have a concrete impact on communities and families in the Armenian regions. The small grants component of the project will fund community-led energy-efficiency steps that will reduce the energy bills of local families’.

ARS_6365First Deputy Minister Terteryan presented the current situation: ’The goal of political, economic and social reforms in Armenia is to improve citizens’ living and social conditions. In order to solve Armenia’s energy deficit, it is important that every citizen, family, and community clearly imagines and can bring about an energy-efficient life and culture. From this point of view, ASBA and its partner organisations’ new initiative is welcome. I am sure that the successful experience of the project will also be extended beyond the five target areas to other communities in Armenia’.

On 16 June, Gyumri hosted the conclusion of the Eastern Partnership Armenia-Georgia Territorial Cooperation Programme. The event had two parts: the final meeting of the joint decision making committee, and a final conference to present achievements and discuss the future of territorial cooperation.An exhibition of projects implemented within the programme in 2015-2017 was also held during the event.

DSC_7056Territorial cooperation programmes open up opportunities for Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries to identify and jointly address common challenges in their border regions. The overall objective of the programme is to ensure sustainable territorial cooperation between border regions to benefit their social and economic development, as well as strengthen cross-border contacts between local authorities, communities and civil society organisations to be able to develop joint solutions to common social and economic challenges. EaPTC addresses local and regional development in four border areas: Armenia-Georgia, Azerbaijan-Georgia, Belarus-Ukraine, and Moldova-Ukraine. EU funding for the Armenia-Georgia territorial cooperation programme is €1.35 million.
The Deputy Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Gregory Tsouris, the First Deputy Minister of Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia, Vache Terteryan, and the Deputy Minister of Georgian Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Irakli Matkava, held a press conference to announce the results.

DSC_7401Tsouris thanked all the actors that participated in the successful implementation of the project: ‘Territorial cooperation between countries is one of the key aspects of the EU as a vector for cooperation, for stability, for new opportunities, for networks of people, businesses, and solutions for common problems. I think it is important to stress that this programme has been successful. Around us at the exhibition we see very important projects. They have huge potential for additional partnership and I think that people-to-people contact will provide many new opportunities in very near future’.

DSC_7377Terteryan stated that the programme had improved mutual understanding between Georgia and Armenia, establishing business contacts and new cooperation projects: ‘These projects are small, but the results and enthusiasm are great. They are innovative and ambitious. We can be proud of the significant achievements that have contributed to the development of border regions and brought benefits to communities. I am sure the programme will be an important stimulus for further development of regional cooperation’.

DSC_7393Matkava thanked his hosts for their hospitality and cooperation: ‘The projects presented here are the results of excellent cooperation between Armenia and Georgia through this programme. Our people want to implement many interesting and innovative ideas; we, as governments, have to support this however we can. I think that there is strong commitment on both sides to continue this cooperation, of course with the assistance of our European friends’.

Southern Armenia has hosted Europe Day events, with the EU Delegation stopping for celebrations in Kapan and Goris (Syunik marz), and Yeghegnadzor (Vayots Dzor marz).


11On 19 May Kapan welcomed its guests with sunny weather. In the morning, the Deputy Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Gregory Tsouris, held a meeting with Ashot Hayrapetyan, the Mayor of Kapan. The meeting was followed by an Information Fair on Garegin Nzhdeh Square. Nearly 10 stalls presented EU-funded projects to the residents of Kapan. A DJ provided music while people used this opportunity to learn more about the European Union and its activities; their children enjoyed themselves in a special booth for kids. Tsouris and Hayrapetyan also toured the booths and welcomed guests.

1Tsouris introduced the concept of Europe Day to Kapan residents: ‘It is a great pleasure to be in Kapan. We are celebrating Europe Day here for the second time. Europe Day is an important milestone for all Europeans; it is a day to celebrate our common values. You have the opportunity to see some of the projects we are implementing in Armenia. It is also an opportunity to discuss our cooperation and speak about the future. I want to thank the Mayor for the support we received organising the celebration and for the warm welcome’.

111Mayor Hayrapetyan was grateful that Kapan had been included: ‘It is an honour for us to implement projects in Kapan with the help of the European Union. Now we have a two-year project which started in January. Plastic waste will start being used in construction in Kapan – plastic waste will be a raw material. As a result, we will establish a culture of sorting plastic waste and find opportunities to benefit from it. The EU’s support is great and we hope to have more ambitious projects’.

The children of Kapan’s Aram Khachaturian music school performed the Anthem of Europe to get the crowd for special guests Hayk Petorsyan and Masha Mnjoyan, who made sure the people of Kapan enjoyed the concert.


2On 20 May, Europe Day reached another city in Syunik Marz. The morning started with a meeting between the Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and Vachagan Adunts, the Mayor of Goris. Grigor Tatevatsi Square hosted an Information Fair in windy, stormy weather. However, the weather swiftly turned and nearly 10 stalls then presented EU-funded projects to adults, while local children learned about the EU through drawing and other games. Soon they were joined by Ambassador Świtalski and Mayor Adunts.

22Ambassador Świtalski introduced Europe Day to the people of Goris: ‘We are happy to be in this beautiful garden town, where the most delicious beans are grown, to celebrate Europe Day together. There are several dimensions to these celebrations: firstly, we want Armenia to feel a part of the wider European family, as Europe Day is celebrated in all member states of the EU, as well as our neighbours. Secondly, we want to present the EU flag and our activities to people all over Armenia. Therefore, it is a great occasion for us to come to beautiful towns like Goris, show what we do in Armenia, and invite you to be more active in our projects. Thirdly, we want to promote different types of activity like music and sport’.

The anthem of Europe was performed before Hayk Petrosyan and Masha Mnjoyan. Despite the wet weather, the crowd filled the square to dance and sing along. While people were singing and dancing in the square, Ambassador Switalski and the mayor launched the European Night of Museums. The EU Delegation to Armenia opened an exhibition of paintings from the #Europe4Peace project at the Aksel Bakunts House Museum.

222The Ambassador highlighted the importance of the European Night of Museums: ‘It is very important that Armenia participates in this Europewide movement of museum nights. The initiative started in 2005 in France and was picked up by a number of international organisations, including the Council of Europe. At that time I was working with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. I never thought this beautiful initiative would spread so far to one day be embraced Armenia. We normally associate museums with buildings where old artefacts are stationed; but in fact museums are centres of learning’.

For #Europe4Peace pupils from art schools in Armenia were invited to create topical paintings associated with Europe and peace. Final selected paintings from 98 schools, including from Goris, were selected by a non-official jury. These paintings were first displayed during the Europe Day classical concert on 6 May, which opened Europe Day celebrations in Armenia.


On 21 May Yeghegnadzor was excited to host Europe Day for the first time. Celebrations started with an Information Fair at the Yeghegnadzor amphitheatre. More than 10 stalls presented EU-funded projects, giving visitors the opportunity to discover Europe, the European Union, and its projects in Armenia. Ambassador Świtalski and the Mayor of Yeghegnadzor, Davit Harutyunyan, also visited the booths.

3The Ambassador celebrated Yeghenadzor’s inclusion in the celebrations: ‘It is the first time that the EU has come to Yeghegnadzor to celebrate Europe Day. I hope that we are starting a beautiful tradition. I wanted to greet the citizens of the town, in particular the young generation. For us, Yeghegnadzor is a city of kind and hospitable people, the capital of Vayots Dzor, the smallest marz in Armenia, but with the biggest heart. We are grateful that we can celebrate Europe Day here in Armenia together. We fell at home here and invite you to enjoy this day, a day of joy’.

After the Anthem of Europe the Information Fair was followed by an open-air concert with Hayk Petrosyan and Masha Mnjoyan.