Issue 242

csf_armenia_logo-engBuilding Consensus on the New Electoral Code” Conference Held in Yerevan

Photos from   European Union in Armenia   Facebook page.

On April 26, 2016 Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in South Caucasus held a conference “Building Consensus on the New Electoral Code” with the participation of foreign ambassadors accredited to Armenia, RA National Assembly deputies, members of the Government and representatives of civil society.

13048083_1013347612052501_4611924333774652542_oIn his opening speech Peter-Andreas Bochmann, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Resident Representative for South Caucasus welcomed the conference participants and expressed his satisfaction with the fact that as a result of cooperation with EaP CSF Armenian National Platform it became possible to organize such a conference. Mikayel Hovhannisyan, EaP CSF Armenia Country Facilitator also made a welcoming remark, saying that the Armenian National Platform, which unites more than 220 civil society organizations, will be consistent in resolving the most crucial issues for the country and policy making to guarantee active civic engagement.

13087171_1013346662052596_5856336480623331514_oThe Head of EU Delegation, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski delivered a speech, calling on the RA Government, opposition parties and representatives of civil society to make united efforts and to reach agreement on the most crucial points of the Electoral Code. The speaker underlined 4+4+4 Format discussions as a good example of a dialogue. Ambassador Świtalski noted that EU is ready to support Armenia to the best of its abilities to have an Electoral Code in compliance with European standards. The Ambassador expressed hope that the final version of the Electoral Code would reflect all the recommendations and expectations of OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission.

13086792_1013346955385900_3818753201605701600_oRepresentative of Europe in Law Association NGO Tigran Yegoryan who has introduced the positions of civil society in the 4+4+4 Format discussions, said in his speech that the authorities had brought forward a draft with which they put aside all the raised issues, proposing a completely new thing. He noted that the online registration system is an especially dubious solution, which is distrusted by the public. The speaker said that soon the package of civil society’s recommendations would be introduced to all the stakeholders.

13071948_1013347202052542_4234390266711763489_oSpeeches were also delivered by Hovhannes Margaryan, RA NA Deputy from “Orinats Yerkir” Faction, Mikayel Melkumyan, RA NA Deputy from “Prosperous Armenia” Faction  and  Levon Zourabyan, Head of “Armenian National Congress” (ANC) Faction. The deputies introduced their concerns over the most crucial aspects of the Electoral Code. Levon Zourabyan mentioned that the April war has completely changed the political situation in the country and that is why the problem is even broader than the passage of the Electoral Code. A consensus must be urgently reached so that people start trusting in state institutions. He stated that ANC had discontinued the discussions on the Electoral Code in the National Assembly. But if the authorities agree on cleaning the vote lists and the installation of cameras, they will resume the discussions.

In the end Davit Harutyunyan, Minister – Chief of RA Government Staff delivered a speech, introducing counter-proposals: in particular, he said that they would agree on the installation of cameras if there appears a company that will not live stream but video record the process and then provide the copies. The Minister mentioned the problems that occurred with finger inking practice in various countries. Davit Harutyunyan reiterated the Government’s readiness to hear and discuss all the recommendations.

Photos from   European Union in Armenia   Facebook page.


Armenia: EUR 30 million from EU to support private sector development


1395250119684++The private sector of Armenia will get a chance to benefit from EU advice and funding, through a Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Finance and Advice Facility, to be launched in the framework of the EU-funded ‘EU4Business’ initiative, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in press release on 25 April. The facility will deploy over EUR 30 million of EU funds over a four-year period to stimulate private sector development in the country. The EBRD and other investors will also add additional funding to support the access of Armenian SMEs to financing.

The support to Armenian firms will contribute to a number of positive outcomes such as increased employment, increased foreign and domestic investment, higher levels of transparency, capital market development and diversification of economic activity, said the EBRD. In addition to access to finances, Armenian SMEs will also be able to use business advisory services on a cost-sharing basis through the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) team, consisting of local consultants as well as international business and industry advisers.

“The EU is delighted by this opportunity to team up with the EBRD to create investment opportunities for Armenia; business development is at the core of EU development cooperation with its partner countries,” said Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in the country. (EU Neighbourhood Info)

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Press release

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