On December 21, 2015 the Annual Conference of EaP CSF Armenian National Platform took place in the office of Eurasia Partnership Foundation with the participation of more than 40 representatives of ANP organizations.
CSF Armenian National Coordinator Mikayel Hovhannisyan presented to the Conference participants the results of the EaP CSF 7th Annual Assembly in Kyiv and the activity and participation of the Armenian delegation in the events. Armenian National Coordinator summed up the ANP 2015 activities, the productivity of the statements issued by the ANP and their feedback. The speaker also underlined the new EU-Armenian framework agreement launched on December 7, calling on the representatives of ANP member organizations to actively make recommendations over the new agreement and to contribute to that process. According to Mr. Hovhannisyan it is important to activate contacts with state institutions as well as with the EU Delegation to Armenia.
The next speaker was Boris Navasardian, who shared his impressions on the CSF Kyiv Annual Assembly. According to the speaker, at the Annual Assembly of the Forum he noticed more conceptual approaches this year, which was also thanks to the Armenian delegation. Mr. Navasardian presented the results of the sessions and discussions he had attended himself. He gave his evaluation of the Working Groups, pointing out that there is still a lot to be done to activate the work of the Working Groups.
In the second part of the Conference the participants were split into working groups, a one-hour discussion took place and the new WG coordinators were elected.
Boris Navasardian, President of Yerevan Press Club was elected as Working Group 1 coordinator;
Karen Chilingaryan, President of the Consumer Counseling Center NGO was elected as Working Group 2 coordinator; Inga Zarafyan, President of “Ecolur” NGO was elected as Working Group 3 coordinator;
Marusya Stepanyan, Representative of the “Union of Elderly Citizens” was elected as Working Group 4 coordinator;
Naira Arakelyan, President of Armavir Development Center was elected as Working Group 5 coordinator.
The newly elected WG coordinators presented the results of their discussions and the issues their working groups would focus on in 2016.
CSF ANP Secretariat
Steering Committee Supports the ANP Statement and Demands the Annulment of the Constitutional Referendum in Armenia
21 December 2015
The Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum fully supports the statement of the Armenian National Platform of the CSF dated 9 December 2015 on the conduct of the referendum on Amendments to the Armenian Constitution held on 6 December 2015.
The catalogue of infringements described in the statement backed by reports from independent observers of the vote depict a depressing picture of a government determined to push through constitutional changes regardless of the views of Armenian voters.
The conduct of the referendum and the results published by the government suggests that the whole process failed to legitimise the proposed amendments and thus undermines the right of the authorities to enact laws, govern and enter into international agreements on the basis of the new constitution.
This situation can only be rectified if the Central Election Commission nullifies the result of the referendum and the perpetrators of the electoral fraud committed on 6 December 2015 are identified and punished. Only a new, free and fair referendum can determine the true views of the voters on the constitutional amendments.
It is also entirely logical that the European Union institutions which launched negotiations on a Framework Agreement with the Republic of Armenia on 7 December 2015 should include these demands as a condition for continuing the negotiations. It is clear that a government which is ready to cheat its own citizens on such an important issue as the country’s Basic Law cannot be considered to be a credible partner in negotiations which will lead to binding economic and legal decisions.
Brussels, 16 December 2015
Source: EU Delegation to Armenia
Within the Multi Sector Budget Support Programme – 2nd phase, the European Union makes a € 3.85 million disbursement to support the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan to the Government of Armenia, out of a total variable commitment of € 7 million for 2015. 55% of available funds have been paid based on the targets that the Government met.
On 2 December 2015, within the Multi Sector Budget Support Programme – 2nd phase, the European Union has provided an instalment of € 3.85 million in support of the implementation of the ENP Action Plan in the areas of 1) public sector transparency; 2) public finance management; 3) trade. The funds are channelled directly into the Treasury of the Government of Armenia to support the State budget of Armenia.
The Multi Sector Budget Support Programme – 2nd phase covers 5 fiscal years (2013-2017) for a total amount of € 45 million of which € 36.8 million is budget support; € 8.2 million are set aside to provide technical assistance to the Armenian institutions and civil society organisations. The current disbursement follows two previous disbursements for a total amount of € 17.8 million (out of a total commitment of € 22 million). The European Union and the Armenian Government, with the support of independent review teams, jointly assessed the achievements of the Programme. The assessment was completed in July 2015 and included also the opinion of local and international organisations.
Within the current disbursement of € 3.85 million, in the area of Public Finance Management, the Programme has supported the development of a modern training system for procurement officers. The Government has achieved the result in drafting the new curriculum however failing to put it into use as stipulated in the target. In the area of public sector transparency, the Programme has supported the adoption of the new law on Data Protection and the digitisation of the Civil Status Register. In the area of trade, the Programme has supported the modernisation of the customs’ legislation, policy and administration in line with the EU Acquis and the Quality Infrastructure System, however, without fully achieving the set targets.
The Programme’s future commitments for the fiscal years 2016 and 2017, totalling € 14.8 million, will be disbursed if targets in the areas related to the fight against corruption and the reforms of the Civil Service are achieved. For Anticorruption reforms, the emphasis is on supporting the implementation of the new Anticorruption Strategy with a focus on the ethics systems and an enhanced management at the borders through a Single Window system. Legislative reforms include the protection of whistle-blowers. Interaction between Armenian institutions and Civil Society Organisations is strengthened in order to enhance the overall accountability of the Government’s activity. For Civil Service reforms, the focus is on the adoption and the implementation of a Civil Service Reform Strategy and Action Plan in line with EU practice and standards.
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Brussels, 16 December 2015
The European Commission has adopted a new support programme of €30 million to enhance reform efforts in Armenia in the areas of quality employment, fiscal governance and civil society participation in the democratic decision making process.
The European Commission has announced a new support programme of EUR 30 million to help Armenia provide better work opportunities to it citizens, strengthen the country’s fiscal governance, and improve the participation of Armenia’s civil society in the democratic decision making processes.
Announcing the package, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said: “This renewed support to our eastern neighbour will allow crucial reforms to take place. This is good news for Armenian citizens as these reforms, be it through better public services or increased job opportunities will benefit them directly.”
The action, “Better Qualifications for Better jobs” (€15 million) will seek to improve the efficiency of Armenia’s labour market and the employability of its workforce, with a particular emphasis on agricultural employment.
The “Public Finance Policy Reform Programme” (€10 million) will address the accountability, transparency and effectiveness of public spending in Armenia in line with international standards and practices. This should also help prevent corruption.
The “Civil Society Facility” (€5 million) will strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations to effectively contribute to democratic decision making processes. The project will improve the organizational capacity of CSOs as well as their capacity to engage in policy formulation/monitoring.
New EU support for reform efforts in Armenia: