President Serzh Sargsyan participated in the congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Bucharest. Addressing the meeting, President Sargsyan said, in part:
“Dear Mr. Martens,
Nine months ago in Marseille, the preceding EPP Congress welcomed the admission of three Armenian political parties to the great EPP family.
Today, I have the honor for the first time to address the EPP Congress officially in my capacity as President of the Republic of Armenia and the leader of the Republican Party of Armenia. I am grateful to all those present here, and especially to President Martens, for the support provided to our accession. I also thank President Băsescu for hosting this annual meeting and its excellent organization.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the leadership of the European Union and citizens of the member States on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This award testifies to the appreciation of the contribution by the European Union to the consolidation and strengthening of international peace.
The past, culture, and ultimate ambitions and aspirations of the Armenian nation make us an indivisible part of the European civilization. The accession of the Armenian political parties to the EPP stems from our shared Christian heritage as well as from our joint commitment to the basic liberties and to the principles of democracy and human rights. The European People’s Party has become an important link for the revaluation of the European identity. We, therefore, view our membership to the EPP as an important element of our association process with Europe. Our political family is the driving force behind the European integration, as well as a promoter and a major implementing force of the reforms.
I am pleased to note that especially since the launch of the Eastern Partnership Program, the Armenia-EU partnership has been developing vigorously, registering serious qualitative and substantial progress in all areas of cooperation. Today, Armenia is among the leaders of the Eastern Partnership regarding the Association negotiations and the initiated large-scale reforms. We welcome the declaration by this Summit on the Single Market. In the future, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement will allow Armenia too to benefit from the opportunities provided by the Single Market.
The Government of Armenia has waived the entry visa requirement for the citizens of the EU member states and the signatories of the Schengen Agreement. We hope that all present here and thousands of citizens of your countries will utilize this new opportunity of visiting Armenia freely.
We have initiated development of the agenda for comprehensive reforms, which will result in a much more efficient system of governance. For the implementation of these goals, Armenia needs considerable financial assistance from the European Union. Towards this end, together with the European Commission we have been jointly conducting preparations work for the organization of the donors’ conference for Armenia.
Our country is getting ready for the presidential elections. The parliamentary elections that took place in Armenia last spring were assessed by the international observers as the best since independence. The authorities of the Republic of Armenia are determined to transform registered progress into a firm trend and to hold free, fair, transparent and democratic presidential elections. To achieve that we are conducting preliminary works stemming from the conclusions and proposals of the OSCE/ODIHR. There is no need to say that this time again we expect active participation of the international observers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Security of the South Caucasus region is an indivisible part of the European security. We see no alternative to the process of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh problem in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. Recently, Azerbaijan challenged the the entire civilized human society by glorifying a murderer extradited by the EU member state. It’s been proved time and again that xenophobia constitutes the official policy of that country and presents an immediate threat to the security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.
The financial and economic crisis is a serious threat to the EU and to its partner states. Crisis of such magnitude cannot be defeated single-handedly. The EPP Summit motto this year is very relevant; the response to this challenge is “more Europe”, the response is a more consolidated Europe, and a stronger commitment to the European ideas and solidarity. Only such Europe will be able to overcome the current financial and economic crisis and open a new window of opportunities for the prosperity of our societies.