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The inauguration and first discussion of the “European Club” took place on 3 May 2016 in Robert Schuman Hall of the Centre for European Studies. The European Club was established by the Centre for European Studies of Yerevan State University in collaboration with the EU Delegation to Armenia. The European Club aims at bringing together academia and experts from Armenian and European universities and think tanks to inspire and facilitate discussions and debates on relevant issues in international and regional policy making. The discussions particularly revolve around EU policies in Armenia and the South Caucasus andwell-known experts are invited as speakers. The discussions are held under Chatham House rules, i.e. “off the record”.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, welcomed the establishment of the European Club: ‘I want to thank and congratulate the Centre for European Studies for taking up this initiative and establishing this European Club. The EU will support you and we hope very much that this initiative will bring real benefits to not only direct participants, in particular the younger generation, but also to Armenian experts and the general public. We hope that this will be a platform for free discussion – I hope that the Club will avoid emotion, avoid propaganda, and stick to reason and rational arguments. The Club started with a difficult topic on Russia and Europe; this is a big question for Armenia it has additional flavour, but I think it is very good to start on such a note’.
ARS_5271The Director of the Centre for European Studies of Yerevan State University, Artur Ghazinyan, echoed Ambassador Switalski’s sentiment: ‘I want to congratulate all of us for establishing the European Club in Armenia, which aims to bring together the most brilliant minds of Armenia, including government representatives, diplomats, experts, journalists, and students to discuss, debate and find answers to many vital questions. The Club was established with the ideological and technical support of the EU to Armenia, so I extend special thanks to Ambassador Switalski for his personal, valuable input in creating this unique platform. We are planning to hold seven sessions of the European Club this year on pressing topics such as the migration crisis in Europe, EU-Iran relations and others’.
Vladimir Morozov, Programme Coordinator of the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, and Jan Pieklo, Director of the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation in Poland, exchanged views and responded to questions. Representatives of the EU Delegation, diplomatic corps, state, international and non-governmental organisations, think tanks, experts, students, researchers and media also attended the event.