September 6, 2013 - 17:49 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Parliament will discuss Russia’s pressure on the Eastern Partnership states during A Strasbourg-hosted plenary session September 12. The resolution was passed at a September 5 sitting of the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents conference.
“Recent pressures exercised by Russia and the consequences they had on the EU Eastern neighbourhood, i.e. Armenia’s announcement to join the Customs Union, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statement to consider such an option, the trade war with the Ukraine and numerous threats towards Moldova, are a blatant attempt to put the whole Eastern Partnership project into question. I am glad that the European Parliament will take a clear position on the issue", said Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Vice-President of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly and Vice-President of the European People’s Party, commenting on a decision of the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents to put the debate, with a Resolution, on the pressures exercised by Russia in the context of the November Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, on the agenda of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg.
"Offering and negotiating Association Agreements with our European neighbouring countries exposed them to pressures from Russia. The EU has a responsibility to defend its Eastern partners from Russia's unacceptable actions aimed at deterring them from association with the EU", added Saryusz-Wolski, initiator and author of the Resolution.
Armenia completed technical talks on a ‘deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement' (DCFTA) with the EU in July and it was set to be signed at a summit with the EU in late November.
In addition to a free-trade deal, Armenia has been working towards the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU, a framework agreement on cooperation that is seen as a first step towards political integration with the EU.
Nevertheless, during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan said Armenia is ready to join Customs Union, with further plans to be involved in formation of Eurasian Economic Union, thus arousing indignation of European officials.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt described Armenia’s intention as a U-turn in relations with the European Union. “Seems as if Armenia will break talks on free trade agreement with EU and integrate with Russia instead,” he said on his Twitter account.
Linas Linkevicius, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said Armenia “has blocked its chances of signing a free trade deal with the European Union by choosing to join the Russia-led union.”
However, later the European Commission issued a statement saying that “the Association Agreement (including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) with Armenia can be compatible with economic cooperation with the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.”