ENP Country Progress Report 2012 – Armenia
European Commission - MEMO/13/242 20/03/2013
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Brussels, 20 March 2013
ENP Country Progress Report 2012 – Armenia
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on 20 March 2013 the annual “neighbourhood package”, consisting of a joint communication (“Towards a Stronger Partnership”) making an assessment of the ENP implementation in 2012, a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity” with Southern Mediterranean, an Eastern Partnership progress report, 12 country reports (on developments in 2012 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Armenia, and a statistical annex.
There was intensified EU-Armenia political dialogue in 2012. Significant progress was registered in negotiations of an EU-Armenia Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Armenia continued to implement sound macro-economic policies and structural reforms. It further progressed also towards meeting the objectives of the Action Plan in the area of poverty reduction and social cohesion. While 2012 Parliamentary election and February 2013 Presidential election was generally transparent and there was a serious effort to address issues related to human rights and fundamental freedoms, further work needs to be done, especially in the implementation and enforcement of legislation.
Armenia addressed some of the key recommendations contained in the last year's ENP progress report. It prepared a roadmap to improve the electoral process, adopted a National Human Rights Strategy and took some measures to fight corruption, to reform the judiciary and public administration, and to advance sectoral reforms and regulatory approximation to the EU acquis. Progress is needed also on other key recommendations. On the basis of this year’s report and with a view to sustained implementation of the ENP Action Plan in 2013,1 Armenia is invited to:
Reforms initiated, carried out successfully, or delayed during 2012 in the different areas of cooperation between the EU and Armenia are described in the annual country report. Some of the issues reported deserve special attention. The Armenian authorities delivered relatively transparent parliamentary elections in May 2012 and presidential elections in February 2013. Freedoms of assembly, expression, and assembly were generally respected but media independence remained insufficient. There was limited action against high-level corruption. The current framework of cooperation between government and civil society remains insufficient. Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict regrettably slowed down in 2012. Three negotiation rounds on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) were concluded. The Visa Facilitation Agreement was signed in December. Armenia adopted a decree that lifts the visa obligation for EU Citizens as of January 2013. An increasing number of Armenian students and researchers benefited from different European programmes in the education area.
EU–Armenia – BACKGROUND
The European Neighbourhood Policy governs the relations between the EU and Armenia. Since 2009 the EU implements the Eastern Partnership, the Eastern dimension of the ENP framework, aiming at substantially upgrading engagement with the six Eastern neighbours via:
This approach allows for gradual political association and deeper economic integration.
FACTS AND FIGURES
1999: Entry into force of the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
2006: Approval of the EU-Armenia Action Plan.
2009: EU Advisory Group to Armenia (financed by the EU) started its activities with the aim of supporting the Armenian authorities in the implementation of the key areas of the ENP Action Plan
2009: Neighbourhood Investment Facility committed EUR 14.6 million in grants and technical assistance for two projects in the transport sector. Armenia is also eligible for three regional projects, committing EUR 24 million in the energy and financial sectors
2007-2010: The ENPI2 envelope for Armenia stands at EUR 98.4 million
2010: Launch of the Association Agreement negotiations with the EU
2011-2013: The new National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2011-13 for Armenia was adopted in March 2010 and has a budget of EUR 157.3 million. The programme is geared towards supporting the achievement of key policy objectives as outlined in the EU-Armenia Action Plan and pursues three priorities: (1) democratic structures and good governance, (2) trade and investment; regulatory alignment and reform, and (3) socio-economic reform and sustainable development.
2011: Establishment of the EU-Armenia Mobility Partnership.
2011: Armenia became observer of the Energy Community.
2012: Launch of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Trade Area (DCFTA)
2012: The EU and Armenia signed the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement on the general principles for the participation of Armenia in EU programmes.
2012: The EU and Armenia signed the Visa Facilitation Agreement.
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The Action Plan should be replaced by the Association Agenda in the course of 2013.
the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument