European Union allocates €19.1 million for institutional reforms in Armenia
Yerevan, 14 July 2011
On 13 July 2011 the Commission adopted the first part of the Annual Action Programme 2011 for Armenia, which will help to strengthen the technical and administrative capacity of key Armenian institutions responsible for the implementation of future Armenia-EU cooperation on trade, visa liberalisation, socio-economic reforms and improved quality of governance.
“The ‘Arab Spring’ led to increased expectations of governance reforms across the European Neighbourhood,” Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, emphasised. “The impact that the changes had on the Eastern neighbourhood, Armenia included, cannot be ignored. Today’s adoption of the Annual Action Programme shows that the EU remains strongly committed to empowering societies in the neighbourhood partner countries to take ownership of these reforms, which are very much needed for the well-being of their people.”
For the period 2011 – 2013, the EU’s priority areas of cooperation with Armenia focus on improving democratic structures and good governance and facilitating trade and investment and socio-economic reform, in line with the recently-released European Neighbourhood Communication.
On the programme:
The National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2011-2013 forArmeniaidentifies three priority areas of cooperation:
1) Democratic structures and good governance;
2) Trade and investment, regulatory alignment and reform;
3) Socio-economic reform and sustainable development.
The Annual Action Programme (AAP) 2011 part I deal primarily with the Eastern Partnership Comprehensive Institution Building (CIB) programme, which is central for preparing the foundations for the AA and DCFTA.
The support package will address three key reform challenges inArmenia: (1) preparing for the negotiations of the Association Agreement between the EU and Armenia, (2) advancing reforms in justice, liberty and security and (3) preparing for the negotiations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. In this respect, the government of Armenia has already identified institutions that require reform. The EU will therefore support the creation and implementation of Institutional Reform Plans in each of the selected entities.
Demand for fuelwood identified as key in Armenian illegal logging report
A survey by EU-funded forestry programme ENPI FLEG, assessing the economic and social impact of unsustainable forest practices and illegal logging on rural populations in Armenia, suggests that local communities should be encouraged to use deadwood for fuel in a sustainable manner. The report, which was recently presented to Armenian stakeholders, also suggests launching a number of pilot projects to decrease the demand for fuelwood by improving access to alternative sources of energy, such as biogas or solar energy.
The presentation focused on the demand for fuelwood, its consumption in households and on the volume of illegal logging and ways of reducing it. According to a press release, Martun Matevosyan, Director General of Hayantar (the State Forest Agency in Armenia) proposed to exempt locals from paying for deadwood. He also proposed installing round-the-clock points on highways to carry out timber inventories, in order to fight timber smuggling.
Alternative livelihoods for local communities, such as collection centres for non-timber forest products such as berries, fruits and vegetables, and developing bee-keeping businesses, were also put forward.
The €6 million ENPI Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) programme supports governments, civil society and the private sector in the development of sound and sustainable forest management practices, including the prevention of illegal forestry activities. (ENPI Info Centre)
Visit to Brussels of the delegation led by Karine Kazinian, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia
The Armenian delegation was led by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia, Chief negotiator, Karine Kazinian. On the part of Europe, the negotiations were chaired by Gunnar Wiegand, the Director for Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, and Central Asia in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for External Relations.
In the course of the session the main goals and principles of the future Agreement, and issues related to political dialogue, cooperation in justice and security spheres were discussed.
The sides summarized the results of the negotiations, arguing that essential progress was achieved in the negotiations launched on 19 July 2010. The next plenary session is scheduled to be held in October of this year.
On July 14 the second session of the Armenia-EU Cooperation Subcommittee on justice, freedom and security issues took place in Brussels.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Armenian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, State Department for Migration and Refugees, Police and Prosecutor General’s Office. On the part of the EU, the meeting was attended by the representatives of the European External Action Service, the EC’s Directorate – General of Home Affairs and Justice.
In the course of the meeting issues related to visa facilitation, migration problems, fight against organized crime and border management were discussed. The sides exchanged views on the recent legislative developments in Armenia and the EU, judicial reforms being implemented inArmenia and the support provided by the EU in this sphere.