On the first official working day in his new competence as Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn met today in Brussels with the Armenian Minister of Economy, Karen Chshmaritian,
“The EU and Armenia are committed to continuing cooperation in areas of mutual interest based on shared values. We support the country’s modernisation efforts and we will continue encouraging necessary reforms in Armenia”, said Commissioner Hahn.
The Commissioner, together with Minister Chshmaritian, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, launching the Single Support Framework for EU-support to Armenia, which sets strategic objectives and priorities for future cooperation in 2014-2017 (between €140 – € 170). Private sector, public administration and justice will be the three priority sectors for implementing reform. These measures will be complemented by support to the modernisation of public institutions and support to civil society.
The Commissioner also announced today a first package of EU assistance for 2014 under the new Single Support Framework. The fresh funding of € 19 million will focus on small businesses and human rights protection in Armenia. The assistance is provided within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Supporting businesses and innovative start-ups can, in a longer run, boost more job opportunities, increase the economic competitiveness, and enhance the overall progress of the private sector of Armenia. In the field of human rights protection, the new programme will help improve relevant legislation in the areas of right to free elections, torture prevention, anti-discrimination, gender equality and child protection.
Finally, the Commissioner and Minister Chshmaritian signed today a Financing Agreement for a Sector Support Programme to Agriculture and Rural Development worth € 25 million.