Richard Giragosian: Europe’s door closed, but not locked

Hasmik Dilanyan
Public Radio of Armenia

President Serzh Sargsyan made a surprising and unexpected announcement about the decision to join the Customs Union, thus ending the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, Director of the Regional Research center Richard Giragosian told a press conference today.

According to Giragosian, the problem was the process of decision-making and how the announcement was made with no public debate and consideration of the public opinion.

“If it is true, as some argue, that Armenia was under serious Russian pressure, then there is something wrong with the Armenian-Russian partnership. Such Russian pressure, if true, applied to Russia’s supposed ally Armenia is an insult to Armenia,” Giragosian said. According to the analysts, even if there was no pressure, it’s an equally big problem, as it reveals the weakness of the Armenian leadership.

In a decision that seems to have been made in four days the Armenian President has lost four years of hard negotiations with the European Union, he said.

According to Richard Giragosian, the decision automatically weakens Armenia’s strategic significance and importance, and the way the decision was made and announced raises a second problem for Armenia. “Armenia now looks insincere, unreliable and incompetent,” he said.

He added that this represents a serious setback to reforms and the weakness of reformers. It endangers the process of long-term reforms in Armenia.

Who will benefit from Armenia’s joining the Customs Union? “Clearly the Customs Union offers the Armenian economy little in terms of benefit. The two most obvious beneficiaries are the oligarchic system and corruption,” he said.

Military security is certainly a priority for Armenia, the analyst said, adding, however that “Moscow’s reward for Armenian partnership is becoming the number one arms provider to Azerbaijan.” “The Russian arms are being used to kill Armenian and NKR servicemen. If these are the actions of Armenia’s strategic partner, then we don’t need enemies,” Richard Giragosian said.

According to him, there is still time to correct this serious mistake, because this is a serious mistake and a missed opportunity for Armenia. “in fact, the Armenian President did not sign anything in Moscow. There is still time to fulfill the expectations and meet opportunities in the Vilnius summit in November.

“The decision has closed the door, but has not locked it,” Giragosian stated.

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