YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The European Union and Armenia could revive the political part of their cancelled Association Agreement in their quest for a new legal framework for closer relations, Poland’s ambassador in Yerevan said on Monday.
“The political cooperation segment of association is still on the table,” Jerzy Nowakowski told a news conference. “Both Poland and the EU are ready to work together [with Armenia] and clarify those political provisions. They are the subject of [EU-Armenia] negotiations.”
The Armenian government precluded the signing of the Association Agreement in 2013 with its unexpected decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The EU argued that membership in the Russian-led bloc is “not compatible” economic provisions of the deal. It dismissed until recently an Armenian proposal to sign the document without its free-trade component.
The EU commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement, Hahn, signaled a change in the EU’s position in January. He said that Brussels and Yerevan should incorporate the “substance of the political part” of the Association Agreement into a new, alternative accord which they plan to negotiate in the near future.
Armenian and EU officials have already identified the concrete areas of closer ties to be covered by the new deal. It is expected that the leaders of EU member states will give the green light to the start of official negotiations on that deal at a summit in Latvia’s capital Riga scheduled for May 21-22.
According to Nowakowski, a lot depends on how far Armenia is ready to go in stepping up cooperation with the EU now that it is a full member of the Eurasian Union. He expressed hope that President Serzh Sarkisian will attend the Riga summit.
Traian Hristea, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, said last month that over the past year the Armenian authorities have restored EU’s “level of confidence” with their pursuit of a new EU-Armenia accord.