Current Activities of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform
On June 7, 2019 the EaP CSF Armenian Delegates’ General Assembly was held with the following agenda:
- elections of the CSF Armenia Country Facilitator;
- alignment of the CSF ANP Organizational Principles with the CSF reform;
- issues related to the establishment of “EU-Armenia Bilateral Civil Society Platform”.
At the beginning of the Assembly the delagatees present unanimously voted for the adoption of supplements to the ANP Organizational Principles in line with the CSF reform. Afterwards the 20 Armenian delegates to the current CSF Assembly elected through secret ballot the CSF Armenia new Country Facilitator. Lousineh Hakobyan, President of “Europe in Law Association” NGO, had been nominated for the Country Facilitator and received 16 votes out of the 17 delegates that took part in the election. The attendees thanked Boris Navasardian, already former Country Facilitator, for his productive work and welcomed Lousineh Hakobyan in her new position. Thus, CSF Armenian National Platform will have two members at the CSF Steering Committee – Lousineh Hakobyan and Mikayel Hovhannisyan, elected as CSF WG 1 Coordinator earlier in May 2019.
At the final part part of the Assembly the participants discussed the ANP engagement in the establishment of EU-Armenia Bilateral Civil Society Platform envisaged by CEPA. As a result of sound discussions a decision was made to develop a statement, which would introduce the position of the ANP on the issue. It was also decided that the ANP 5 Working Groups would organize separate meetings to elect new coordinators.
Following the Assembly, on June 13, 2019 EaP CSF ANP Working Group 2 meeting was held with the participation of WG2 9 members and Heriknaz Harutyunyan, Managing Director of the ANP Secretariat. The participants first voted for the internal organizational change, according to which any member of a working group can be elected a WG Coordinator regardless of his/her being an ANP delegate. Afterwards, Tatul Manaseryan, President of “Alternative” Research Center was nominated for this position and gained 8 votes for, and 1 abstention, thus becoming the new Coordinator of Working Group 2.
EAP CSF ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM
on the Implementation of Article 366 of the RA-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
June 14, 2019
The Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF ANP) expresses deep concern with regard to the implementation of Article 366 of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Armenia.
According to the mentioned Article: “A Civil Society Platform, comprised of representatives of civil society on the side of the European Union, including members of the European Economic and Social Committee, and representatives of civil society organizations, networks and platforms on the side of Armenia, including Eastern Partnership National Platform, shall be established”.
ANP has always expressed its commitment to a democratic, transparent and inclusive process of establishment of a new platform and has initiated the engagement of partners in Armenia and the EU countries that can contribute to the implementation of CEPA. With the support of the EaP Civil Society Forum, the experience of similar bilateral platforms in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine was studied, and an appropriate package of recommendations developed. However, all these efforts were ignored. Instead, for the formation of the civil society platform the EU Delegation to Armenia has engaged external consultants, on whose months-long activities’ results the Armenian civil society knows nothing.
It is also not known through what mechanisms and arrangements the implementation of the above-mentioned Article of the bilateral agreement, whose main parties are the European Commission and the Government of the Republic of Armenia, was, in fact, almost entirely delegated to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which had not demonstrated particular activeness in the implementation of reforms in Armenia before. Moreover, despite the fact that EESC is mentioned in CEPA with the same status as CSF ANP, that organization attempts to confer upon itself the right to not only select all the members of the new platform representing the civil society of the European Union, but also to dictate its terms in determining the two-thirds of the Armenian members. Unfortunately, the efforts of the CSF Armenian National Platform representatives to build mutual understanding and partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee were unsuccessful. And all this happens with the consent of the EU and the RA structures responsible for the implementation of the bilateral agreement.
At the same time, in the April 8, 2019 official letter of the EESC to the representatives of the civil society of Armenia it is noted that “the selection procedure of the Armenian side of the civil society platform will be entirely conducted by the Armenian civil society”. This demonstrates only one of the many contradictions between the principles and practice of the establishment of the platform. Transparency (“the results of the selection process should not be challenged”) is indicated as one of the most important criteria of the process, while the mechanisms used by EESC have nothing to do with this criterion.
The ANP members at meetings with EU officials have repeatedly expressed their concern about the situation with the establishment of the civil society platform within the framework of CEPA. In particular, in the Address by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum to the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting (May 13, 2019) it is noted: “We also call for the formation and development of a clear mission for CEPA civil society platform taking into account the concerns of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform”. However, there has been no response to this call.
We consider the issue raised as non-compliant with the essential components of democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms stipulated by Article 2 of CEPA, and consequently with the crucial provisions of CEPA.
Considering such development of events unacceptable, the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform once again draws the attention of the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the RA Government to the problems of ensuring efficient participation of civil society in the implementation of CEPA.
We state that the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform will take part in the establishment of the civil society platform envisaged by CEPA only in case relevant adjustments are made to fully ensure the democratic nature, inclusiveness, and transparency of the process. We call on our colleagues from all segments of civil society to show solidarity and responsibility in this issue, which is of fundamental importance for the successful development of the bilateral relations between our country and the European Union.
EaP CSF Steering Committee Calls for the Recognition of Current Moldovan Parliament and Coalition Government
As the situation remains tense in Moldova, “the priority is to return to political dialogue and re-establish trust in [the country’s] democratic institutions” – we read in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Steering Committee statement. The statement urges all actors to recognise and respect the legitimacy of the current Parliament, elected on 24 February 2019 – as well as the coalition government, led by Maia Sandu and formed by ACUM and the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), officially sworn in on 9 June 2019. It is also an appeal against any further escalation, pointing to legal ways of solving disputes. The statement comes after a declaration, released by EaP CSF Moldovan National Platform – which encourages all the constitutional judges to resign, in the name of restoring trust and legality.
The Constitutional Court of Moldova has compromised itself, “acting exclusively in the interest of one political party” warns civil society – referring to its actions from 7, 8 and 9 June 2019. There are serious doubts around its interpretation of existing legislation, which allows the President to dissolve the Parliament. The Court has interpreted the right to dissolve the Parliament as an obligation: on 8 June 2019, it issued two judgements, declaring the new Speaker and Prime Minister “unconstitutional”. The judgements were made public within one hour of the Parliament taking its decisions, without them being formally signed or published.
What is more, the Constitutional Court has suspended Moldova’s President, Igor Dodon at the request of Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) – attributing the right to dissolve the Parliament to former Prime Minister and Prime Deputy President of the PDM, Pavel Filip. The judgement was adopted in haste on 9 June, in absence of authorities and affected parties. Dodon has previously planned to reconvene with all Parliamentary factions to discuss dissolving the Parliament on 10 June 2019. Back in December 2018, 17 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) warned about the new composition of the Constitutional Court. The procedure that lead to the appointment of the last three judges (50% of the presiding bench) was not only lacking in transparency – the candidates were known for their affiliation with PDM.
Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met with Federica Mogherini
13 June, 2019
On June 13, Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan within the framework of his working visit to Brussels, met with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of European Union / Vice-President of the Commission.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Federica Mogherini discussed a wide range of questions related to the Armenia-EU agenda. The sides underlined that the second Armenia-EU Partnership Councilis a good opportunity to sum up and evaluate the work done after the first Partnership Council and outline further steps to be undertaken within the Partnership framework.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia commended the consistency of the EU assistance to the Government’s agenda of reforms and development. The Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of launching EU visa liberalization dialogue, especially in the context of expanding people to people contacts.
The interlocutors also exchanged views on a number of issues on regional and international agenda.
Upon the request of the High Commissioner, Minister Mnatsakanyan presented the latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Minister Mnatsakanyan underscored the necessity of creating an environment conducive for the advancement of peace process and highlighted the unconditional preservation and consolidation of the ceasefire with this regards. Both sides highlighted the importance of confidence-building measures and the implementation of arrangements aimed at preparing populations for peace. Federica Mogherini reiterated the EU’s support to the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ efforts aimed at the peaceful settlement of the conflict.