An International conference on “European Integration 2013: EU-Armenia Relations Perspective after the EaP Vilnius Summit” is being held today and tomorrow at the Metropol Hotel in Yerevan. The event is organized by the Armenian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum with the support of the EU Delegation to Armenia.
The main aim of the conference is the formation of a platform for exchange on the perspectives and challenges related to further civil society involvement in the revised EU agenda in Armenia. A press release from the EU Delegation to Armenia said Armenian officials, diplomats, experts, international organizations and civil society representatives would attend the two-day conference.
The EU Delegation will continue the engagement with civil society organizations and will enhance the support for Armenian civil society. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Statement of EaP Civil Society Forum on arrest of Anar Mammadli, who led election monitoring of Presidential elections in Azerbaijan
Arrest of Anar Mammadli shows disregard of Azerbaijan authorities for independent election monitoring and civil liberties. Civil Society Forum calls on Azerbaijan authorities to release him immediately
Dear High Representative, Dear Commissioner, Dear President of the European Parliament, Dear Ministers,
The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum protests strongly about the three months’ detention order imposed on Anar Mammadli, the head of the Election Monitoring and Democratic Studies Center (EMDS) in Azerbaijan, and his subsequent imprisonment on 16 December 2013. The investigation being carried out against Anar Mammadli does not warrant his detention as he has until now answered every summons to appear as a witness in the case, and the fact that he has had his passport taken away means that he is unable to leave Azerbaijan. Prior to October 2013, Anar Mammadli was Working Group 1 co-ordinator of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (working group for democracy, human rights, good governance, and stability).
Anar Mammadli is a highly respected civil rights activist, and the reports produced by his election monitoring organisation are considered to be highly credible both in Azerbaijan and abroad. We consider that the criminal investigation being conducted against him which derives from grants EMDS received from abroad to conduct its election monitoring activities is another example of the victimisation of civil rights activists by the Azerbaijan authorities.
We urge the authorities to immediately free Anar Mammadli, and to drop all charges against him. The authorities must understand that every additional political prisoner in Azerbaijan undermines the country’s image abroad and its position in the Council of Europe and in the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe as well as its relations with the European Union.
We urge the European Commission, the EU delegation in Baku, and the European Parliament to condemn his arrest in the strongest terms, and to support the Civil Society Forum in pressing the Azerbaijan authorities for his immediate release.
Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership
‘More for more’ principle in action – EU rewards Moldova, Georgia and Armenia with €87 million to boost reforms
Moldova, Georgia and Armenia will benefit from €87 million additional funds under theEastern Partnership integration and cooperation (EaPIC) programme, announced by the European Commission today. The new funds (€35 million for Moldova, €27 million for Georgia and €25 million for Armenia) will go towards projects to boost economic opportunities in rural areas, advance reforms in the energy sector, improve job market management, offer vocational education and training and others, a press release said.
“This year, three Eastern partners were rewarded for their efforts in democratic transition and their commitment to fundamental values,” Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle said. “We hope that this group will grow bigger in the future. Additional funding means more support for national reforms and joint projects that bring concrete benefits to citizens’ lives,” he added.
The EaPIC programme provides additional funding to countries in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) that make progress in reforms for deep democracy and human rights. It complements the annual bilateral support for the three countries concerned, either through new projects, or by expanding the scope and duration of existing projects.
In Georgia, new funds will be used for improving management of the job market, with better linkage between education, skills and market needs. In Moldova, new funds will contribute to boosting economic opportunities in rural areas. In Armenia, additional funding will help bring forward the national agenda for fight against corruption and reform of the civil service. In addition to EaPIC funding, direct support for civil society has also been increased in Armenia, the press release said.
Launched in 2012, the EaPIC programme provides additional financial assistance to EaP countries that deliver on reforms for deep democracy and respect of human rights. In practice, the programme functions as a positive incentive for continued efforts in democratic transformation. Additional funds are used for new projects or for scaling-up existing projects.
The 2013 EaPIC allocations are based on the key findings and recommendations of the latest progress reports on the implementation of the Neighbourhood Policy (‘ENP package’ of March 2013).
This rewarding mechanism is in line with the ‘more for more’ principle introduced in the 2011 review of the European Neighbourhood Policy: “Increased EU support to its neighbours is conditional. It will depend on progress in building and consolidating democracy and respect for the rule of law. The more and the faster a country progresses in its internal reforms, the more support it will get from the EU.”
The ‘more for more’ principle is not limited to financial assistance. In the Eastern Partnership, partners most engaged in reforms benefit more from their relationship with the EU, including closer political association, deeper gradual economic integration in the EU internal market and increased EU assistance.(EU Neighbourhood Info)