Tag Archives: yerevan

^7DDA8AFE5020AA3C982A3A493A5E7763BE32FCF15DE2B6ED5F^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrEvery year Europe celebrates Europe Day: the celebration of peace and unity. 9 May marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman deceleration’. On 11 May 2018, Europe Day celebrations in Armenia were officially launched. In the morning, Armenia’s President, Armen Sarkissian visited the office of the European Union in Armenia. The President congratulated the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski and the staff of the office and in their person the large EU family on the occasion of Europe Day and wished them peace and prosperity. The parties exchanged views on the agenda of Armenia-EU relations and programmes which are implemented in Armenia through the assistance of the European Union.
This year, Europe Day celebrations will be held in 6 Armenian cities (Ijevan, Hrazdan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Kapan, and Yeghegnadzor) and will be concluded in Yerevan on 2 June. The participants of outdoor public events will have the opportunity to learn more about EU-funded projects in Europe and Armenia, to get acquainted with projects’ achievements, to enjoy good music, to participate in various competitions, to win many surprise gifts, and to taste different European dishes. The embassies of 11 EU Member States accredited in Armenia will join in hosting cultural and entertainment events.

ARS_7121_Later that day, Ambassador Świtalski announced the launch of the pan-European holiday in Armenia during a press conference and informed about the upcoming events: ‘We consider Armenia as a member of the larger European family. I invite the Armenian pubic to join us during Europe Day celebrations, which we consider to be a shared occasion, a shared opportunity to show that we belong to the same family. This year, for the first time, Ijevan and Hrazdan will host these celebrations. We will also visit, as usual, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Kapan, Yeghegnadzor and, of course, Yerevan. As always, we dedicate many of our activities to youth, the future of this country. Europe Day is about values; in recent days Armenian youth demonstrated that they believe in the values of democracy, the rule of law, an independent, fair judiciary, etc. This is something that constitutes the common basis of our relations. Soon we will start the provisional implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which is very important. We are looking forward to joint work with all our stakeholders’.

ARS_7052_The launch of Europe Day activities kicked off with a fashion exhibition organised jointly with the Fashion and Design Chamber of Armenia. 16 fashion designers presented exceptional clothing collections created especially for this occasion, inspired by the European flag. With EU support under the EU4Business initiative the ‘Business Club for Impact’ joined up with the ‘Fashion and Design Chamber’ to establish the Business Club for Fashion and Design in February 2018. This unites more than 60 individual designers who for the first time have created a joint platform for the fashion and design industry, aimed at promoting more knowledge and business skills in the world of design. The Business Club is funded by the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project, co-funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is being implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in the South Caucasus Programme.

On 16 September, cooperatives from the ENPARD project and farmers from the OASI project had the opportunity to present their products, including cheese, buckwheat, broccoli, organic asparagus, berries, and tea during the fourth “Harvest Festival: Rural Life and Traditions” in English Park, Yerevan.
The festival allowed more than 120 groups (farmer groups, cooperatives, individual farmers and entrepreneurs, as well as local and international organisations) from Armenia, Georgia and other countries to present their products, grown and processed in rural areas, to the citizens of the capital, Yerevan. The festival serves as a unique platform for agricultural stakeholders and potential donors to meet, find new markets, exchange experience and engage in new collaboration. The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) and Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) were the key sponsors of the festival.
ENPARD is funded by the European Union (€2.4 million) and the Austrian Development Agency (€1 million). The three-year project was launched in Armenia in January 2015 with the aim to support sustainable agriculture in the country. OASI, also funded by the European Union and co-founded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency, in collaboration with the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture, promotes ​​organic agriculture in Armenia.

ARS_6005The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, congratulated Armenian farmers on their products at the event: ‘This festival is more proof that rural communities in Armenia are rich in tradition. The EU is committed to supporting the development of agriculture in this beautiful country. Thanks to ENPARD, Armenia can have its own broccoli, buckwheat, honey and quality cheeses. In addition, we are supporting the development of organic food through the OASI project. September is an “organic month” thanks to the dedication to our Austrian partners. We believe Armenian agriculture has a bright future and be an engine for growth. We want to help Armenian farmers to provide the European market with delicious apricots, pomegranates and other delights. We hope very much that livelihood expectations in Armenian communities will be fulfilled’.

ARS_6019The Director of the International Projects Department of the Austrian Development Agency, Robert Zeiner, echoed the Ambassador’s thoughts on the event’s importance: ‘Congratulations from our side! Harvest festival is a celebration in two ways: we are celebrating the year’s harvest, and our results, the fruits of our joint efforts. I am sure we will have a bright future together’.

ARS_5986The Armenian Minister of Agriculture, Ignati Arakelyan, welcomed the diversity of produce on show: ‘Such a festival proves that villages feed cities. It was organised for residents of the capital to understand and experience agricultural achievement, including the results of projects implemented by international organisations, as well as the successes of farmers and women’s cooperatives. This is a good opportunity to purchase products that cannot yet be found in shopping centres in Yerevan’.

_V1A0241On 27 May the Europe Day celebrations reached their final stop: Northern Avenue, Yerevan. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, welcomed the Mayor of Yerevan, Taron Margaryan, to launch the final celebrations and addressed a large crowd in the centre of the city: ‘During Europe Day we celebrate the values, the foundations of the EU which link us with Armenia. We have done a big tour over the last three weeks. We started on 6 May here in Yerevan with the “Europe for Peace” concert. We then travelled throughout Armenia: Gymuri, Vanadzor, Dilijan, Kapan, Goris, and Yeghegnadzor. Today we have a closer meeting with the residents of Yerevan, a beautiful European city. I want to thank our member states embassies, the people involved in the implementation of our projects, and the team who organised these events for their hard work during the last month. We want to demonstrate to you that Armenia is very important to us. We want Armenians to learn what the EU is doing here – we are, by far, the biggest donor to Armenia and we want to make progress together. The atmosphere is good for our relations, for example, a few days ago, the EU-Armenia Cooperation Council took place in Brussels in a very friendly and constructive atmosphere. A very ambitious agenda has been charted for the future and I think it is good for Armenia. The EU will stay engage here and we will work hard to ensure you all benefit’.

ARS_3877The TmbaTa folk band from the TUMO Centre in Yerevan performed the Anthem of Europe to kick off the musical celebrations, while Ambassador Świtalski, Mayor Margaryan and other diplomats toured an information fair divided into several zones: EU4Business, EU4Agriculture, EU4Education, EU4CivilSociety, EU4HumanRights, EU4Youth, EU4Enviroment, EU4Energy and EU4Innovation. More than 50 EU-funded projects and EU member states embassies presented their activities.

_V1A0390Projects which attracted the most attention included the “Stop the Flow of Corruption” anti-corruption awareness campaign, which began on 1 February 2017, launched by the EU Delegation to Armenia. This campaign will continue throughout 2017 to raise awareness of the negative effects of corruption and to highlight the EU’s efforts in fighting against corruption in Armenia. Sergey Sargsyan from Arm Comedy and Marat Atovmyan from the Armenian Lawyers’ Association gave examples of the negative effects of corruption to the attendees.

_V1A1022Alongside the information fair there were award ceremonies for the ICMPD MIMBA photo exhibition, the #EUAroundU contest and the Europe Day Street workout performance. This involved a dance performance by “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” project representatives and more performances by TmbaTa and the Armenian Progressive Youth band, as well as UFAR Tempus and Erasmus+ students. The Street Workout team organised a flash mob and invited people to join in their workout. The final concert involved performances by Polish singers Adryan Jan and Cesco, who filled Northern Avenue with nice music and dancing. To finish they performed a special new song dedicated to Armenia to show their love and respect to all Armenians.

A high-level conference was held on 26-27 October, 2016 in Yerevan to celebrate 20 years of local government in Armenia. Representatives of central, regional and local authorities from across the Eastern Partnership (EaP) gathered in Armenia’s capital to launch new EU support initiatives for local sustainable development and economic growth in EaP.
The EU has officially launched the new “Mayors for Economic Growth initiative” (M4EG) and the second phase of the Covenant of Mayors East (CoM East), which target business and energy efficiency respectively. These actions are aimed at fostering cooperation between local authorities and civil society organisations to enhance accountability, exchange good practices, and strengthen municipalities’ capacity to be efficient and effective administrators and promoters of local development. By encouraging public-private partnerships, these initiatives are also expected to contribute to the creation of new job opportunities at the local level and increase GDP per capita growth.
The event was organised by the European Commission, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of the Republic of Armenia, the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), and CoM East.
14522809_1141089429278318_1092564134457294953_nThe Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, addressed conference participants, stressing the importance of effective and accountable local governance : ‘The European Union realises that the capacity of local authorities to be effective development players depends on the existence of effective relations with other levels of governance and conducive national frameworks. Local authorities are important agents which should have their own development agendas coherent with national policies. Regional development is essential, because the gap between Yerevan and the regions is high. The EU is trying to help Armenia narrow this gap’.
Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Davit Lokyan echoed the Ambassador’s sentiment: ‘Strengthening local democracy will create such conditions that will ensure more active participation in the formation of local authorities. Our goal is to have more vibrant communities, large and financially stable communities, and transparent and fair management at the local level to ensure that people are able to solve vital issues in cooperation with local government’.
The conference also marked the signing ceremony of 25 new local authorities from EaP countries joining the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. On the second day of the conference discussions focused on the prospects and benefits of a new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in EaP countries.