The EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee held the 15th meeting in Yerevan. Upon the conclusion of the meeting the Committee adopted a Final Statement and Recommendations.
The Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
- Recalls the historic European Parliament resolution of 1987 on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and, on the eve of the 100 year commemorations, calls on all the Member States to acknowledge it, and encourages the Member States and the EU Institutions to contribute further to its recognition; pays tribute to the memory of the innocent victims; is however encouraged by the fact that the issue has, in recent years, become the focus of open and public debate in Turkey itself;
- strongly hopes that, on this occasion, the legacy of the past could be overcome by the normalisation of Turkey – Armenia relations, without any preconditions and with the opening of the unilaterally closed border; therefore supports initiatives aimed at promotion of regional cooperation, in the belief they can contribute to the ending of isolation of any country in the region;
- fully supports the progressive differentiation provided for within the EaP framework – insofar as it matches the partners’ varying levels of ambition and capacity, but nonetheless believes that a regional approach is essential for the EU to contribute effectively to the economic development and stability of the South Caucasus; in this respect, underlines the value it attaches to unconditional access for EU representatives to the region, including Nagorno-Karabakh;
- deeply regrets the human cost of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and would expect from the EU to play a more active role in supporting further confidence building measures to spread the ideas of peace, reconciliation and trust among all sides; thus condemns actions taken to curb contacts between civil society and intellectuals from all sides;
- believes there can be no alternative to a peaceful solution in accordance with relevant international law and the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act,; supports the negotiation process under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group and calls for a greater political commitment from all parties involved, while firmly deploring all violations of the cease-fire agreement and reminding the value of confidence-building measures, including withdrawal of snipers from the line of contact, in accordance with OSCE recommendations; underlines that many of the suggestions contained in European Parliament’s resolutions remain pertinent; expresses its support to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs proposal on the creation of a mechanism of investigation of incidents.
- calls for the pursuit of EU-Armenia cooperation in all possible areas, welcoming the joint commitment issued by the last Cooperation Council; regrets, nonetheless that the scoping exercise has not yet allowed to establish a legally binding contractual basis for the future of these relations, especially given the obsolete nature of the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;
- stresses the importance of reviewing and updating the existing basis of relations as noted in the EU-Armenia Joint Statement adopted in the margins of Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013; recalls the remarkable energy and dedication shown by both sides at the time of previous negotiations, and hopes a similar effort will be made ahead of the Riga summit; underlines that both EU and Armenia have now identified the areas where cooperation is possible despite Armenia’s engagement in the Eurasian Economic Union; believes that the future agreement should provide a forward-looking framework for the future development of relations between Armenia and the EU, enhancing and strengthening political relations and economic cooperation;
- welcomes the EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue which took place on 11 December 2014, focusing on issues such as the fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of assembly and association, the development of civil society, the rule of law, mobility, judicial reform, the continued fight against corruption, the independence of the media and the fight against torture; calls on Armenia to implement all the recommendations issued by the OSCE/ODIHR election observation missions;
- highlights that these issues are expected to be examined also in the framework of the ongoing Scorecard exercise, to be presented to the EP on 1 January 2016 given the enhanced role played by the EP in the reformed EU monitoring procedure of the GSP+ scheme; reminds thatGSP+ was renewed for Armenia from 1 January 2014, with this trade instrument precisely aimed at encouraging the effective implementation of core UN/ILO international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainable development and good governance.
- takes note that the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements came into force in January 2014, which will enhance people to people contacts between Armenia and the EU and strengthen cooperation in the area of mobility and management of migration; and notes with satisfaction steps taken towards management of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements and endorses further steps towards launching a Dialogue on Visa Liberalisation, aimed at a visa-free travel for the citizens of Armenia in due course;
- welcomes the commitment of Armenia and the European Union to further develop and strengthen the cooperation in all areas of mutual interest; recognizes that the EU’s support and assistance provided to Armenia over the years has been instrumental for the effective implementation and sustainability of the reform process and institutional capacity building; and calls upon EU’s continued support reflecting the pace of Armenia’s reforms and economic needs in line with the principles of differentiation and
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