October 22, 2013 - 16:09 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Union will need to study and review all of the earlier planned programs with Yerevan, the head of the EU delegation to Armenia said.
“This, in particular, refers to programs on creation of a deep and comprehensive free trade zone,” Traian Hristea said while announcing the results of the 3rd stage of the 2012 European Integration Index for Eastern Partnership Countries study.
As he further noted, EU is trying to find ways to continue cooperation and develop partnership with Yerevan. Also, EU will continue assisting the civil society of Armenia, Hristea added.
As Economy Minister Vahram Avanesyan also noted, Armenia and EU plan to sign a joint document during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
“An effective cooperation agenda is being developed at the moment. Hopefully, a document stipulating for further lines of cooperation between Armenia and EU will be ready before the summit,” the official said.
As he also noted, prospects of bilateral ties in the light of Armenia’s accession to the Russia-led Customs Union will be discussed.
As he stressed in conclusion, Armenia - EU cooperation remains at high level.
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 co-operation that is seen as a first step towards political integration with the EU.
However, during a Sept 3 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian leader Sargsyan said Armenia is ready to join Customs Union, with further plans to be involved in formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr. Putin supported the initiative, vowing procedural assistance to Armenia.
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.
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.” “We respect any choice of countries but they cannot enter both organizations at the same time because of different tariff requirements,” he said.
However, Armenian leadership continues expression intention to expand ties with the EU, which won't contradict Armenia's CU membership.
"Armenia will take part in the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius and is ready to sign the Association Agreement," President Serzh Sargsyan said at the October 2 PACE session.
"No Armenia-EU document is being readied to be signed at a Vilnius summit," the spokesperson of the EU Commissioner Stefan Fule said. “We’re trying to find routes for further cooperation with Armenia, based on the existing achievements,” Peter Stano said.