Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received a delegation led by European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Olivér Várhelyi.
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the visit, noting that it reflects EU’s interest in developing cooperation with the Republic of Armenia. “Armenia is equally interested in developing relations with the EU,” he said.
According to Nikol Pashinyan, after the crisis created by the 44-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan, early parliamentary elections were held in our country, which, according to international observers, met democratic standards. “In fact, for the first time in our country, democratic processes have become a means of overcoming the crisis, as elections in Armenia have usually caused crises. Thus, a very important institution has been established in our country – the institution of elections, which has also happened with the support of the European Union,” said Nikol Pashinyan.
The Acting Prime Minister hailed the fact that EU continues to express its readiness to support programs aimed at Armenia’s development. The programs are aimed at strengthening democratic institutions, stimulating the economy, developing small and medium-sized businesses. “We appreciate the tangible package of programs aimed at the progress of Armenia offered by the European Union, which we assess as a response to the irreversible democratic processes taking place in Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
Olivér Várhelyi expressed hope that the global coronavirus crisis is over and that the parties can start implementing programs aimed at the post-crisis future. “We want to participate in the development of Armenia’s democratic institutions and economic recovery. We are ready to contribute to the unprecedented economic and social recovery of your country in cooperation with the Government of Armenia,” said the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, emphasizing that in the near future they will work with the Armenian side on large-scale economic and investment programs.
Among the priorities. Mr. Várhelyi noted that the package of 1.6 billion out of the total $ 2.6 billion envisaged for Armenia will be directed to a 5-program in the following fields: strengthening of democracy, promotion of economy, development of small-medium business, energy, infrastructure spheres, etc.
“We can make a big difference with these big investments. “These are powerful and large-scale projects that we can work together to make a reality,” said Olivér Várhelyi.
The Commissioner noted that the EU is ready to assist in overcoming regional challenges, achieving interconnectedness, and economic integration. Mr Várhelyi added that the EU would provide new programs to help rebuild the 44-day war-torn region, fight the coronavirus, including providing new vaccines, and recognizing vaccine certificates.
Nikol Pashinyan attached importance to the effective implementation of the large investment package provided by the EU to our country, adding that the forthcoming summit of the Eastern Partnership program will give a new impetus to the Armenia-EU cooperation, including the visa liberalization process and further GSP+ cooperation.
The Acting Prime Minister also referred to the post-war situation, stressed the need to ensure the return of Armenian prisoners of war, and praised the contribution of the European Union, in particular the President of the European Council Charles Michel, to the return of 15 prisoners during the pre-election period. Nikol Pashinyan stressed that Armenia is ready to take humanitarian steps and stressed the importance of joint efforts of the international community to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of Nagorno Karabakh.
Summing up the meeting, the Acting Prime Minister stressed that the large package offered by the EU to Armenia is considered by the Armenian government not so much as an opportunity to attract large financial resources, but as an introduction of European values in our country.