The EU Is Still the Largest Trade Partner of Armenia: Traian Hristea
The European Union, according to the statistics, is the number one trade partner of Armenia and largest investor in the country. The European Union (EU) will continue its cooperation with Armenia but the cooperation format will be defined during the upcoming bilateral discussions.

H.E. Ambassador Traian Hristea, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, spoke on the EU-Armenia relations at the press conference initiated by the Media Center in cooperation with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting Armenia Branch.

Referring to the statistics available, Hristea said that the EU part in Armenia’s overall trade turnover volumes to 27%. The EU ranks as the largest investor in Armenia as well. The 52% of the investments in Armenia were made by the EU states.

The EU is the largest aid donor of Armenia, the Ambassador stated, with the promised and actual financial aid and the EU intends to continue its assistance to Armenia in the democratization process.

“We have agreed with our Armenian partners that upon their request we will continue our support to Armenia in its democratization. We are committed to continue cooperation in trade, as well as our support to human rights protection, enhancement of small and medium size enterprise sector in Armenia, agricultural and rural development, civil society organizations and balanced development between the regions in Armenia, etc.” said Traian Hristea.

With respect to the possible decline in trade flows after Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) as a certain set of competencies will be handed over to the Eurasian Committee, the Ambassador noted that the cooperation is possible.

“The Eurasian Agreement imposes a kind of transfer of competencies between Yerevan and the new commission to be established in the EEU. There are areas in trade to be added and discussed within the Eurasian Economic Union as a system but some of them will still remain in the exclusive decision-making competency of Yerevan. Those will be the subject of the trade cooperation part of our future agreement. By all means, this won’t go to contradict the commitments that Armenia has assumed in this new integration scheme,” commented the Ambassador.

The EU will continue to encourage Armenia to participate in the framework of the Eastern Partnership in all its bilateral and multilateral platforms. “After the Vilnius Summit in 2014 some started to sing the final song of this cooperation scheme but I would like to assure it is not the end, it is rather the new beginning. Since the launch of the Eastern Partnership by implementing the so-called differentiation process or the criteria and supporting the more for more principle we can really work in ensuring cooperation and assistance request for each and every of the beneficiary states of the Eastern Partnership based on their own local realities,” said Traian Hristea.

The negotiations to achieve a new legal basis that will define the EU-Armenia bilateral relations for future, he said, began last week during the meeting with the Armenian colleagues in Brussels.

“We encourage our Armenian partners to participate in the Eastern Partnership format and all events,” stated the Ambassador, adding that it will soon become much clearer what could be the concrete deliverables of the Riga Summit to be held in May, 2015.

The Head of the EU Delegation said that after the three-and-a-half years of negotiations of the Association Agreement the September 3 decision came out of the blue and it had its impact on the level of the confidence.

“The September 3 decision took some stakeholders by surprise and that was reflected in the level of the confidence but one distinct feature of the EU is that it always respects the choices and decisions of its partners. From that perspective this decision is fully taken into account by the EU institutions and member states and we proceed in trying to identify exactly what can be built in new legal agreement based on what we negotiated before so that there is consistency,” said the Ambassador.

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