Retrospective on Vilnius Summit
Armenia was ignored at Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum since Ukraine was in the foci of the event. This was the impression of Armenian participants attending the Forum, who recently returned from Vilnius.

Today the Media Center hosted a discussion led by Sona Ayvazyan, the deputy director of Transparency International Anticorruption Center, who spoke about how veryone congratulated Georgia and Moldova at the Forum, while Armenia simply remained an outsider.

“The EU will continue its cooperation with Armenia, providing grants to the government and the state,” Isabella Sargsyan, Eurasia Partnership Foundation Armenia Project/Communications officer believes and point out that “EU is not a monolith organization such as Russia, for instance. However, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement will not come into force.”

Due to contacts and communication with Europeans in the past several years Armenians are quite able to compare EU with the members of the Customs Union: Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which fair even in a worse than Armenia with respect to corruption. This is the viewpoint of Levon Barseghyan, president of Asparez Journalists’ Club.

“There can hardly be found any human being that will prefer Russia to EU if asked to choose, asserts Barseghyan. “Now Armenia will delegate customs-related decision making to a supranational institution, which is in contradiction with the Constitution. In this regard joining CU is considered treacherous."

The speakers recalled that at the Forum the representative of 20- million Ukrainian Diaspora stated that the future of Ukraine is in Europe and not in Russia. The representatives of Armenian Diaspora didn’t make such statements during the event.

“Such strong and important support to the people of Ukraine was the standpoint of Ukrainian Diaspora demonstration strong support to the country and an ownership that one could only envy the fact that there exists such supportive Diaspora. . Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most of the representatives of our Diaspora or Diaspora Organizations,” noted Sona Ayvazyan expressing her regret.

According to her, parallel to the integration of Armenia to Europe, the Armenian Government makes strenuous efforts to misrepresent European values, for instance, as values which support homosexuality or undermine families.

“Russia needs unstable neighbors whose affairs it can interfere into at any time, provoking conflicts in order to pursue its interests, whereas Europe needs stable neighborhood as democracy eventually leads to stability,” said Sona Ayvazyan who expressed disappointment about the fact that Europeans in Vilnius didn’t voice self-critical evaluations on their role concerning such failures in Armenia and possible application of double standards in assessing elections in Armenia.

“What is now called a European Value is actually a universal value,” added Isabella Sargsyan.“The fact that Armenia hasn’t signed the Association Agreement doesn’t mean that Armenia should not adhere to universal values. Armenia doesn’t terminate its membership to Council of Europe and UN,” said Sargsyan.

According to her, Council of Europe, UN and OSCE Yerevan offices must work more effectively towards strengthening democracy and human rights in Armenia.

“Armenia will not receive any help from anywhere, thus, we must rely on our own strength to become a democratic and constitutional state. It is our generation’s responsibility. Alternatively, we may become a province of another state. We face a challenge of historical significance, i.e. losing the sovereignty our parents have won,” concluded Sargsyan.

On December 4 Armenian participants of  Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum presented their comments and observations on the Vilnius summit. The discussion speakers included Isabella Sargsyan, Eurasia Partnership Foundation Armenia Project/Communications officer, Sona Ayvazyan, Deputy Director of Transparency International Anticorruption Center” NGO, Levon Barseghyan, President of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club..

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