Joint Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle on completion of negotiations on the future Association Agreement with Armenia
Brussels, 25 July 2013
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, made today the following statement:
“We are delighted to confirm the substantive completion of the negotiations on the future Association Agreement between the European Union and Armenia, including the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), on which negotiators reached agreement in Yerevan yesterday.
This is a very positive development, and we look forward to the initialing of this Association Agreement at the next Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Vilnius on 29 ,November 2013, and to the subsequent signing of the Agreement as soon as the technical procedures are completed.
The completion of these negotiations, launched in 2010, represents a significant achievement for both the European Union and Armenia. The Association Agreement will allow the EU and Armenia to drive forward together a programme of comprehensive modernization and reform based upon shared values, political association and economic integration. The Agreement will have a direct positive impact on daily life and will bring Armenia and all its citizens closer to the European Union. We express our appreciation to the negotiators on both sides for reaching this excellent outcome.”
24 July 2013
The European Union and the Republic of Armenia today successfully concluded negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as part of the Association Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Armenia.
At the seventh and final round of negotiations – held in Yerevan – negotiators reached agreement on the key elements of a deal which will create a new framework for trade relations between the EU and Armenia. The DCFTA will strengthen Armenia’s economic integration with the EU by providing better market access for European and Armenian goods and services to each other’s markets. It will offer Armenia a framework for modernising its trade relations and for economic development on the basis of far reaching harmonisation of laws and regulations in various trade-related sectors. These reforms will create the conditions for Armenia to bring key sectors of its economy in line with EU standards. The improved trade opportunities brought about by the DCFTA are expected to bring economic benefits to both the EU and Armenia.
An independent study suggests that in the long run the Armenian economy could gain an extra €146 million a year, representing a 2.3% increase in GDP. Removing non-tariff measures is key to realising these benefits. For its part, the EU is expected to gain by some €74 million.
The DCFTA will have significant impacts on Armenia’s trade. The forecast 15.2% increase in Armenian exports and 8.2% increase in its imports in the long run will lead improve Armenia’s trade balance in relative terms.
The EU began negotiating an Association Agreement with Armenia in July 2010. The aim was to replace the old Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with a more advanced relationship. The negotiations on the trade part of this agreement – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) – were launched in May 2012. After seven rounds of negotiations, final agreement was reached on 24 July 2013. The Commission will now report to the EU Member States on the negotiated DCFTA text. After that, the EU and Armenia will carry out the next steps to formally mark the finalisation of the DCFTA as part of the Association Agreement.
The EU is Armenia’s biggest trading partner, covering some 32% of its trade. Bilateral trade in goods amounted to €951million in 2012.
The country already benefits from preferential access to the EU market through the EU Generalized System of Preferences with additional incentives for sustainable development and good governance (“GSP+”). This means that existing import duties are already very low, so the benefits of the DCFTA, although they also include tariff reductions, will lie predominantly behind the border. Regulatory reform will focus on areas such as sanitary and phytosanitary issues, aiming to bring food safety standards in Armenia up to a par with those in the EU. Armenia –
The next Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius should be one of delivery, both in terms of political association and economic integration, said EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in a statement issued by her spokesperson following the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting yesterday.
During their meeting, the partner countries’ ministers focused on the preparation of the forthcoming high level meeting in Vilnius on 28 and 29 November.
The High Representative, who chaired the meeting, underlined that the EU “wants the summit to be a success, but this very much depends on the partner countries who need to deliver on their commitments.”
So far, important progress has already been achieved, said Ashton, stressing that “the efforts must continue so that the summit will represent a milestone in the relationship between the EU and partner countries.”
“Provided that the remaining steps will be taken in the weeks ahead – the Vilnius summit would be a summit of delivery, both in terms of political association and economic integration, the High Representative concluded. ”
At the Ministerial Meeting, Linas Linkevičius, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania (current EU Presidency) stressed the need to step up efforts towards signing at the Vilnius summit the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) and initialling such agreements with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova.
“These agreements do have a huge transformative potential,” he said, adding: “They will bring concrete results for the people, but also will serve as the instruments to reform, to modernise, and to get as close to the EU as partner countries wish themselves.”(EU Neighbourhood Info)
To: Baronessa Catherine Ashton,
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission
The Georgian National Platform would like to ask you to increase efforts and resist the Russian Federation’s policy towards Georgia to establish the new insuperable “borders” and infringe different form barricades, as steel wires, reinforced concrete structures, walls, trenches of land on Georgia’s territory.
Since 2008, following the Russian-Georgian war, the military forces of the Russian Federation with rough violation of International law and country’s sovereign rights deployed themselves on Georgia’s territory. As a result the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the former South Ossetia District territories are under occupation of Russian troops. The Russian militaries are deliberately making the border crossing regime stricter, constructing the new fencing in a way to divide families, private or community property and impede freedom of movement. The process has been intensified during the recent months. Therefore, the arable lands, sacred places, churches and cemeteries, water and irrigation infrastructure of local people appear over the other side of steel fences. The cases of local people’s repression as a result of violation of the so called “border regime” are of special concern. Quite often the victims include children and elderly citizens. The civil society monitors have observed and registered the similar acts many times.
The EU monitoring mission is well aware of the above mentioned facts. Georgia is grateful to the EU and its European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership Initiative that supports the development of our country. We endorse and support the EU‘s non-recognition and engagement policy towards the conflict regions of Georgia. This policy envisages the benefits of the EU Georgia integration should be available for the population living in the conflict regions as well. However, the policy and actions of Russian Federation in the region is hinders the engagement policy. It poses threat to both parties that are divided as a result of the conflict. The construction of the new insuperable borders and establishment of the border regimes damages and breaks the family relationships prevents the dialogue, trade, involvement in the healthcare and educational programs of the parties divided as a result of the conflict. This policy promotes the feeling of permanent threat and illegal prosecution within the society and treats the stability. This process represents the violation of fundamental human rights and unbearable situation for local people both from security, as well as from humanitarian point of view.
Not even mentioning that Russia fails to fulfill the international obligations, including the ceasefire agreement of 2008, negotiated through mediation of the EU, while violates the principles of international law.
We hope that the EU has tangible leverage to resist the Russian Federation deceptive policy.
On behalf of the Georgian National platform we would like to thank you for your support and efforts to bring the prosperity and peace to Georgia.