The press service of the Armenian President has already informed that Serzh Sargsyan will pay a working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium to participate in the Summits of European People's Party and the EU Eastern Partnership taking place in Brussels on November 23-24.
Until the last moment there are concerns in Armenia that some circumstances may force Armenia to refuse signing the agreement with the European Union. The reason is the experience of 2013 when Serge Sargsyan unexpectedly decided to join the Customs Union, which excluded the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement within the Eastern Partnership and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. During the discussion entitled “Eastern Partnership Summit 2017: Armenia's Step towards Europe” on November 23 at Media Center, the experts expressed an opinion that the risk of not signing the agreement by Armenia is considered to be overcome and nothing hinders signing of the agreement within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Summit. Political scientist Suren Sargsyan particularly mentions that at present there is no danger and Serzh Sargsyan will sign this agreement during this visit.
Ara Papyan, Chairman of “Modus Vivendi” Centre and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, says that the main risk of not signing the agreement comes from our strategic ally, which is currently neutralized:
“After 2015, serious changes took place - Armenia's accession to EAEU and obviously this new document has taken into consideration this reality. Therefore, if we look from the viewpoint of Russia's interests, which was then the main opponent, its interests are considered, there is nothing contradicting and the agreement will be signed.”
At the same time, as a reply to the question if there are no risks that Armenia, like Ukraine and Georgia can pay for closer ties with the EU, the speaker notes that Armenia has already paid that price.
“Membership in the Eurasian Economic Union was the price we paid for signing an agreement with the European Union. But the important thing is that after the signing, how it will be implemented, it needs a political will to bring it into reality because it is a framework document.”
Robert Ghevondyan, Political Scientist, Vice President of The Armenian Interest Scientific-Analytical Center, emphasizes that the situation has changed in 2017 as compared to 2013, and the choice of "either…or" is no longer in front of Armenia.
“A situation has arisen when we can combine the interests of Russia and Europe in case of Armenia.”
Developing the above-mentioned idea, Ara Papyan notes that this document makes even the Eurasian Economic Union more attractive.
“This is a message that the country can be a member of the EAEU, while developing institutional relations with the European Union, and the Eurasian Economic Union is already becoming attractive to many.”
Robert Ghevondyan considers the signing of the agreement with EU possible restoration of Armenia's foreign-policy equilibrium.
“Armenia is restoring its balance in its foreign policy today. If we maintained balance between the EU and Russia until 2013, after 2013, by breaking the balance, we turned to Russia. Today, the situation seems to be getting better.”
Political scientist Suren Sargsyan thinks that the agreement to be signed with the EU can be used very effectively by Armenia and Russia.
“This can be done jointly by the Russian side to show world and regional players that there is nothing incompatible.”
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Derenik Malkhasyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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