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Yerevan, 27 September 2012
Press statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Tigran Sargsyan, Prime Minister of Armenia
In out talks with the Prime Minister we had discussed a substantial agenda focusing on how to accelerate reform and modernization in Armenia for the benefit of the citizens and the country and on how the EU can support those changes.
We are building on solid foundations: there have already been some very positive changes in Armenia. We recognized this by allocating an additional €15 million to Armenia under the “more for more ”principle of the reviewed European Neighbourhood Policy.
We have signed short while ago two agreements launching €43 million of support to help Armenia’s institutions prepare for political association and economic integration with the EU. And we have discussed ways of bringing Armenia's international partners together, to focus external assistance on the most urgent national reforms.
Wherever I look we are making progress: on visa facilitation and readmission or in other areas like our negotiations on an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. This Agreement is of utmost importance in moving our relationship to a higher level. It goes far beyond normal free trade agreement. Through the Association Agreement the EU will open up portions of its acquis related to the internal market. But beyond this it encompasses changes that affect citizens in their daily lives, in areas like consumer protection, air quality, or road safety.
More importantly this Agreement is about sharing values. It is about freedom which unlocks the full potential of women and men. Offering them protective umbrella of high democratic standards and real guarantees for their rights.
The list of issues we discussed goes further. We spoke about the matrix of priority reform actions, as a useful tool to summarize the most urgent reforms and how to turn it into an effective instrument of support for Armenia's reform process. We also talked about the role of the Group of Experts in this and also about increasing role of the civil society monitoring this process.
One of the most important priority reforms is in the area of democracy. With representatives of government and opposition, I will be discussing a number of specific recommendations from the OSCE/ODIHR which we would like to see implemented before the Presidential elections next year. Successful elections really matter – without them the continuous reform which we want to see would be interrupted and the country’s unity of purpose could be undermined.