Tag Archives: Johannes Hahn

ARS_4924On 29 January Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for EU Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, visited Armenia. During the visit the EU Commissioner met with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. During the meetings, the parties discussed  EU-Armenia relations, EU assistance to Armenia, the Eastern Partnership (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year), the implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the necessity of fostering broader regional cooperation, and the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Commissioner Hahn also met with the representatives of civil society and gave a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan.

Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner 5During the press conference Commissioner Hahn congratulated the Armenian government on the parliamentary elections held on 9 December 2018: “These elections reflected the people’s will. These were elections accepted by the international community as fair and transparent. Based on them, we must look to the future, which means economic development – we need to have a stronger, more resilient, more democratic society. We have identified some areas where we can focus and make a European contribution, particularly agriculture, technology, judicial reform, education, and others. Our whole cooperation is based on a solid framework. Currently we have projects worth €300 million being implementation and another €100 million allocated for upcoming projects. Additionally, grants and loans have generated over €800 million in investments across various sectors. This will be further enhanced as we are working with the government to identify areas requiring further support. I would like to announce the signature of a €23 million assistance package to Armenia on education and innovation. I am proud to say that we have invested a lot in education and will continue to do so. We are already in the midst of the negotiations concerning the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) within the EU. We are talking about a 7-years budget, 2021-2027. It takes some time but I can already reassure you that support to Neighbours will be in financial terms bigger than the current allocation, and this should have also very positive effect for Armenia”.

ARS_5081Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked Commissioner Hahn for his visit and the quality of dialogue with the EU: “We talked about all issues concerning the current stage of the EU-Armenia agenda. Once again we emphasised the importance we attach to our relations, to those fundamental, main causes and values underpinning the basis of our relations with the European Union. We highlighted the legal foundation of our current relations, CEPA, which remains an essential legal instrument. We evaluated the dynamics of CEPA implementation in Armenia and programmes envisaged for the coming months, so we can efficiently continue the implementation process. We also touched upon how to being visa liberalisation dialogue and the steps we need to take. We also touched upon regional issues, an ongoing process. We have a clear programme of dialogue and contact for the coming months, which we will present more precisely after the dates are fixed. In March we are planning to continue high-level dialogue. This year is going to be very significant, because it marks the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. Accordingly, a high-level event will be held in Brussels, in May, to mark this important anniversary, which will serve as a platform for our dialogue”.

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 17 November, Yerevan hosted  the 8th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Informal Ministerial Dialogue. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Carlos Moedas, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, were in Armenia to take part in the event. The meeting focused on strengthening the cooperation of the EaP countries with the European Union in science and innovation and prospects for multilateral cooperation.

2A session on research, science and innovation was hosted by Levon Mkrtchyan, the Armenian Minister of Education and Science. During the session, Commissioners Hahn and Moedas launched the #EU4Innovation initiative for EaP countries. This initiative focuses EU support on reinforcing EaP countries’ capacities for innovation, especially those funded through HORIZON2020 or the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

The meeting was held during an extremely important time for Armenia as the agreement associating Armenia to HORIZON2020 entered into force on 12 November 2016. This agreement allows researchers and innovators from Armenia to have full access to HORIZON2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU member states and other associated countries.
Same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia hosted foreign ministers of EaP countries, which was also attended by Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and  Jean-Christophe Belliard, the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service.During these discussions, ministers discussed developments and achievements following the Riga summit and expressed their expectations of the upcoming summit in 2017.

3This meeting was followed by a press conference. Hahn noted the constructive and open nature of discussions: ‘This is the 8th time that we have gathered in this format – and we have many other  opportunities to meet. This meeting has allowed us to review EaP implementation. There are a lot of agreements, but it’s time to implement and to make things visible for citizens. That’s why, during the summit in Riga, we decided to group different topics into in four areas to be more visible. The first is, of course, extensive support to EaP countries; we believe that economic development is crucial for increasing welfare, prosperity and stable business in the region. The aim of the next couple of years is to support more than 10,000 SMEs – they are the backbone of the economy. We will not only support existing SMEs, but also promote conditions to enable start-ups to thrive’.

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