EU hails progress in Armenia

The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on 20 March 2013 the annual “neighbourhood package”, consisting of a joint communication (“Towards a Stronger Partnership”) making an assessment of the ENP implementation in 2012, a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity” with Southern Mediterranean, an Eastern Partnership progress report, 12 country reports (on developments in 2012 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Armenia, and a statistical annex.

According to the report, there was intensified EU-Armenia political dialogue in 2012. “Significant progress was registered in negotiations of an EU-Armenia Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Armenia continued to implement sound macro-economic policies and structural reforms. It further progressed also towards meeting the objectives of the Action Plan in the area of poverty reduction and social cohesion. While 2012 Parliamentary election and February 2013 Presidential election was generally transparent and there was a serious effort to address issues related to human rights and fundamental freedoms, further work needs to be done, especially in the implementation and enforcement of legislation.”

“Armenia addressed some of the key recommendations contained in the last year’s ENP progress report. It prepared a roadmap to improve the electoral process, adopted a National Human Rights Strategy and took some measures to fight corruption, to reform the judiciary and public administration, and to advance sectoral reforms and regulatory approximation to the EU acquis. Progress is needed also on other key recommendations,” the report reads.

The report notes that ” Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict regrettably slowed down in 2012. ”

“Three negotiation rounds on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) were concluded. The Visa Facilitation Agreement was signed in December. Armenia adopted a decree that lifts the visa obligation for EU Citizens as of January 2013. An increasing number of Armenian students and researchers benefited from different European programmes in the education area,” the document reads.

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