Tag Archives: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

On 19 September the European Commission’s Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Katarína Mathernová  visited Armenia on a two-day working visit, during which Eastern Partnership (EaP) Post-2020 Consultations took place in Yerevan. The Deputy Director-General Mathernová, the EU Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Wiktorin, and the RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Avet Adonts delivered speeches encouraging all the participants to actively contribute to the discussions and feel ownership for the EaP’s future beyond 2020, ensuring that the EaP remains relevant and inclusive. The event was attended by representatives from the RA National Assembly and Government, EU Member State Embassies, Civil Society, private sector organisations, think tanks, academia, media, youth, and other stakeholders.

Later, the Deputy Director-General Mathernová and Ambassador Wiktorin held a meeting with the RA Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan and the RA Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.  The Deputy Director-General expressed the EU’s readiness to step up the support for the implementation of the reform agenda in Armenia; this would include cooperation with Government and building on joint CEPA commitments.

On 20 September the launch event of the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) took place in Yerevan during which the Deputy Director-General Mathernová, the EU Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin and the RA Deputy Minister of Economy Varos Simonyan delivered opening remarks. The financial instruments and main components of EIP were presented, alongside the policy objectives of investment opportunities in Armenia and ways to enhance the business environment to unlock investment. The Deputy Director-General Mathernová and Ambassador Wiktorin then met with representatives of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and with Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan. In the evening, the Deputy Director-General Mathernová held a press briefing and launched a private equity fund for Armenia. This fund was established with the support of the EU and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). €16 million was provided for the launch of the Amber Capital EU-Armenia SME Fund. This fund seeks to raise a total of €70 million for investment in small- and medium-sized enterprises in Armenia.

The Deputy Director-General Mathernová highlighted the importance of this newly launched fund: “The EU is a key partner for economic development and prosperity in Armenia. The EU is proud to be adding this new innovative tool to unleash the potential for SME development in Armenia, creating jobs and providing concrete benefits to the people. We are confident that the EU-Armenia SME Equity Fund will support the growth and competitiveness of the Armenian economy, attract foreign direct investment, and help develop innovations based on the talents of Armenians”.

Deputy Prime Minister Avninyan expressed confidence that the fund would contribute to the development of Armenia’s economy significantly: “The Armenian Government has started building an innovative and inclusive economy, where SMEs will play an important role. In this period of fundamental changes, the newly established EU-Armenia SME Equity Fund will contribute significantly to the economic advancement of the country and will create new opportunities for entrepreneurs”.

The Deputy Director-General Mathernova’s two-day working visit concluded with the meeting with the RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan alongside Ambassador Wiktorin. During the meeting, they discussed EU-Armenia relations and the EU’s commitment to support the reform agenda. Mathernová highlighted, that even with the change of leadership in EU agencies, the commitment to support Armenia will not change.

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”.