On 16 January the Prime Minister’s Office of the Republic of Armenia and the EU Delegation to Armenia held a ceremony on the launch of eight EU – Armenia Financing Agreements, intended to assist development and reforms in Armenia. The new actions entail an EU contribution of € 77.5 million (44 billion AMD).
The eight agreements will support progress in some of the main areas of bilateral cooperation – from agriculture and regional development, through capacity building for the implementation of EU programmes, support to migration and integrated border management, anti-corruption and civil service reforms, to water supply improvement, Yerevan metro rehabilitation and nuclear safety.
The ceremony was welcomed by H. E. Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and H.E. Ambassador Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, and attended by representatives of the beneficiary Government institutions, the EU Member States, and International organizations accredited to Armenia.
Prime Minister Abrahamyan mentioned in his remarks that “the assistance provided by the European Union enabled the implementation of reforms in many areas such as trade related regulations, food safety, intellectual property rights, justice, vocational education, public financial management”. He expressed confidence that the implementation of the concluded agreements will facilitate the reforms in the relevant areas as well as will strengthen the sectoral cooperation with the EU.
“The European Union expects that this substantial assistance will lead to bold reforms over the next years. A high level of commitment and strong domestic support under parliamentary and civil society oversight will be indispensable for Armenia’s successful development,” noted the Head of EU Delegation. He added that “Armenia remains the second largest per-capita recipient of EU funds in the Eastern Partnership”.
With two of the agreements, the EU gives support to economic development in Armenia, contributing to overall poverty reduction. This includes assistance to agriculture and rural development (€ 25 million), which will lead to efficient and sustainable agriculture, increasing employment, supporting farmers associations and cooperatives, and improving access to affordable food. In addition, through an action on regional development (€ 10 million), the EU will support specific projects (public-private partnerships, employment creation, training of the labour force) to step up the economic development of Armenia’s regions.
In the area of governance, the EU is now focusing specifically on anti-corruption and civil service reform measures (€ 21 million). The EU will also support border management and migration (€ 4 million) in view of the Mobility Partnership and Visa Facilitation agreement between the EU and Armenia.
Another agreement will enhance the ability of civil servants, facilitate Armenia’s participation in EU programmes (€ 6 million) and reinforce the civil society as an important partner in promoting bilateral cooperation and monitoring reforms.
Two large infrastructure initiatives have also been agreed, set to improve the daily lives of Yerevan residents. One will provide an overhaul of the Yerevan metro system (€ 5 million) by addressing public health and safety concerns, while another will support the rehabilitation of the water supply network in Yerevan (€ 5.5 million), improving water and waste water services.
Last but not least, the EU will support nuclear safety through enhancing the regulatory capacity and framework for radioactive waste management (€ 1 million).
This new assistance package confirms the commitment of Armenia and the EU to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation.