On May 15, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian participated in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), attended by Vice-President of the European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Foreign Minister of Latvia, a state, presiding over the Council of the EU, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Poland Margot Wallstrom and Grzegorz Schetyna respectively.
Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico delivered opening remarks, attaching importance to the holding of the meeting, as an efficient platform for exchange of thoughts in the run up to the Riga Summit.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian delivered a speech at the session.
In his remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Edward Nalbandian, particularly, mentioned,
“I want to thank the Visegrad Four Presidency for hosting this ministerial meeting in Bratislava.
Armenia has important objectives to accomplish in its comprehensive partnership with the European Union in all possible fields, through enhanced political dialogue, deepening sectoral cooperation, intensification of people-to-people contacts and creating favourable conditions for the facilitation of trade and economic cooperation.
To intensify our cooperation in sectoral areas we are looking towards launching negotiations with the Commission aimed at the field of science and education, concluding the agreement on Armenia’s participation in the EU “Horizon 2020”; as well as in the Programme for Competitiveness of Enterprise and Small and Medium Enterprises (COSME). In the area of transport the Government of Armenia expressed its readiness to sign a Common Aviation Area Agreement with the European Union.
We highly appreciate the EU’s continued support and assistance provided within the ENP to our country over the years, which has been instrumental for the effective implementation and sustainability of the reform process and institutional capacity building in Armenia.
We have welcomed the European Commission’s initiative to conduct a review of the ENP which is an occasion for all of us to reflect on our past experiences and highlight priority aspects of future cooperation. The situation in the larger Neighbourhood poses new challenges and undoubtedly requires renewed cooperative approaches.
We think that the ENP review should outline the importance of adherence to common values of democracy, rule of law, good governance and protection of human rights. We are also of the view that within the new policy framework the principles of a merit-based differentiation and “more-for-more” should be reinforced and continued to be applied accordingly to reflect the pace of implementation of reforms by the partner countries.
I would like to reflect on the state of progress in defining our future contractual relations with the European Union. Since November last year, we have been engaged with our EU partners to shape the scope of the legal framework, which will reflect the contents of our past negotiations with the European Union while taking into account our commitments in other integration formats. In mid March, the Armenian and the EU teams concluded the consultations on the scope of future legal basis and it is our understanding that based on that the EU Member States will endorse the mandate and we can launch the negotiations.
In parallel to the regular meetings of the EU-Armenia institutional setup, Armenia continues its active participation in the platforms and more than a dozen working groups of the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership. We view this as an important and useful framework for sharing best practices and promoting enhanced cooperation.
The Mobility Partnership is in place since 2011 and there are several projects being implemented under its umbrella. The EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements entered into force in January 2014. From our part, the Government of Armenia abolished the visa requirement for the EU citizens since 2013. On April 29 the Armenia-EU Joint Committees on the Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements took place in Brussels and it is our hope that following these meetings we will be able to initiate a dialogue on Visa Liberalization with the EU as soon as possible.
The situation in the Eastern Partnership today poses new challenges and requires renewed cooperative approaches.
Armenia well recognizes the importance of inclusive cooperation in different formats. We hold the view that it is possible to make best use of various integration frameworks through a more visionary approach that builds on opportunities rather than incompatibilities. Building upon the results achieved in previous years it is our goal to continue the path toward deep and comprehensive partnership with the European Union”.