Tag Archives: Lawrence Meredith

On the initiative of the EU Delegation to Armenia and the Government of the Republic of Armenia, a joint press conference was organised on 26 November to mark the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Luc Devigne, the Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE at the European External Action Service, Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East and Institution Building at the European Commission, who were in Armenia on a working visit and Avet Adonts, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia held a press conference. The EU representatives welcomed Armenia’s commitment to reform and to the implementation of the EU-Armenia Agreement.

“We very much welcome Armenia’s commitment to reforms and to implement CEPA, which we signed 2 years ago. We have been positively impressed by the professionalism and seriousness with which Armenian authorities have taken this Agreement. It’s motivating to see that what we do will deliver benefits for people of Armenia and the EU. CEPA represents modernisation reforms and EU standards in all key areas. We are happy that Armenian civil society is actively monitoring and contributing to CEPA’s implementation. We are looking forward to the next EU-Armenia Partnership Committee meeting on 16 December in Brussels, where the CEPA Implementation Roadmap elaborated by the Armenian Government will be discussed. We are looking forward to continuing our support to Armenia and the Armenian Government’s reform efforts”, said Director Luc Devigne in his speech.

“I would like to highlight three things. Firstly, how does Armenia benefit from CEPA? We strongly believe that this will create new opportunities for people, new jobs and will help to shape an economy that works for all. Secondly, the EU is investing substantially in support of ambitious reforms to make Armenia ready to benefit from the potential of this Agreement. The CEPA Reform Facility will advise the Government on strategic reforms through EU High-Level Advisers and a series of twinning projects. Additionally, CEPA banking facility will support the private sector to adjust to CEPA requirements. Thirdly, why to invest in Armenia? We see an ambitious vision from Armenia in terms of reform. Armenia is a country famous for innovation; we are investing in young people – the future of Armenia is in their bright, hospitable hands”, mentioned Director Lawrence Meredith.

In his opening remarks, the Deputy Foreign Minister Avet Adonts highlighted the importance of CEPA, the ongoing process of its ratification and full implementation. The Deputy Foreign Minister also touched upon the importance of launching of visa liberalization dialogue between Armenia and the EU, as well as the vision of the Republic of Armenia on the future of the Eastern Partnership. The press conference was followed by the inclusive “Stronger Together” fashion show with participation of people with disabilities.

On 20 March four new projects were launched through the EU-funded EU4Youth initiative. The projects will focus on increasing employment opportunities and employability of young people across the country, providing young people with new skills, training courses, work experience, and opportunities for entrepreneurship. These new projects were launched by Lawrence Meredith, the European Commission’s Director for Neighbourhood East, together with the EU Ambassador to Armenia, Piotr Świtalski. The EU contribution to these projects in Armenia amounts to €1.9 million.

ARS_3844_The “EU4Youth: Fostering potential for greater employability” project will improve education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth. The “EU4Youth: Better Skills for Better Future” project will develop the entrepreneurial potential and increase employability of disadvantaged youth, ensure their increased access to education and training opportunities, and advocate for the development and implementation of coherent and cross-sectorial youth policies at the local and national level. The “EU4Youth: Employability and stability” project will focus on the empowerment, employability and entrepreneurship potential of socially and economically disadvantaged youth, especially young women. The “EU4Youth – SAY YES Skills for Jobs” project will address unemployment and the lack of income opportunities for youth in rural areas. The EU4Youth initiative (total budget €22.75 million (EU contribution: €20 million)) fosters the active participation of young people in society and improves employability by developing youth leadership and entrepreneurship through a variety of actions, including capacity building, fellowships, support to policy dialogue, and grants to organisations active in these areas.

ARS_3744_Lawrence Meredith highlighted the importance of youth empowerment in his speech: ‘We are already doing a lot to promote the role of youth. For example, for my generation, Erasmus was a defining change in the European Union. We want Erasmus+ to be a defining change for your generation. The Eastern Partnership Summit in 2017 endorsed the Eastern Partnership’s “20 Deliverables for 2020” which focuses on cooperation to produce tangible results for citizens. A key deliverable in the Summit Declaration is the new Youth and Education Package. The core of this package is the EU4Youth initiative. Therefore, it is a great pleasure to launch four new projects today, which will take EU4Youth vision a step further in Armenia’.

ARS_3786_Ambassador Świtalski praised Armenian youth: ‘The young generation in Armenia faces great challenges. You have to bring your country to a new level – your parents created an independent state, they established institutions, but they carried, and still carry, values from the past. You enjoy different levels of freedom, and it is your responsibility to build your country’s future, drawing on the best examples of the history of human civilisation. You are not a generation which can simply profit from the past, you have a challenge ahead. The EU strongly believes in Armenian youth. You are privileged to come from a civilisation rich in traditions. You are very talented, which is why we are offering you our support’.

On 8 November the EU Delegation to Armenia, in cooperation with the EU4Energy Programme implemented by the Energy Charter Secretariat held a conference on “Unlocking the Energy Efficiency Potential in Armenia”. Energy efficiency is very high in the Armenian Government’s list of priorities; the aim of the conference was to generate dialogue on this topic between ministries, donors, international financial institutions, representatives of the private and public sectors, as well as technical experts from civil society and academia.
During the conference, experts discussed challenges that are hampering energy-efficiency efforts in the country. Speakers shared success stories and lessons learned from ongoing projects. Each of them summarised key challenges, operational actions, and the reforms necessary for unlocking full investment potential in energy efficiency.
The event was organised in close cooperation with the Armenian Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources and was attended by high-ranking officials, including Lawrence Meredith, the Director of “Neighbourhood East” in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.

ARS_7375Director Meredith stressed the importance of the conference: ‘We believe that there are two key issues on which we need to focus. Firstly, it is important to manage demand. There is no cheaper energy than energy not spent. Secondly, investment in cleaner energy is also a key issue for us. In the EU, this sector has created over a million jobs. I wish it had the potential to create jobs in Armenia too. We are already supporting 6,000 households in 17 Armenian cities with energy efficiency. We are also involved in a major LED street lighting project which is helping to improve the safety of pedestrians and car drivers. The aim of today’s event is to make sure that we have a comprehensive vision of how energy-efficiency commitments will be taken forward in the future. That’s why we brought together all the major international donors, financing institutions and energy experts. We believe that, by acting together, we can have a major impact on improving the lives of Armenian citizens’.

ARS_7350Hayk Harutyunyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Energy, Infrastructures and Natural Resources presented the situation in Armenia: ‘Armenia does not have right mechanisms to implement residential energy-efficiency projects. There are about 20,000 residential buildings and 450,000 houses in our country. The energy efficiency potential is, of course, very high. We have many beneficiaries in these buildings and their desires to solve the problem are different. Therefore, it is very difficult to find a common business plan for large-scale energy efficiency projects. In this event, we will try to understand what targeted projects can address the energy efficiency issue. We have carried out different pilot projects on the external thermal insulation of residential buildings and thermal isolation of individual flats – we have a clear idea of the economic benefits residents will get. Now it’s time to conduct large-scale efforts to test piloted ideas and choose the right models, as one model will not be enough for everyone’.