Issue 270

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EaP CSF ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM

STATEMENT

On the Misuse of EU Grants

May 10, 2017

Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum expresses its deep concern over the criminal cases – already completed or still in the phase of investigation – related to the facts of corruption and fraud within the EU-funded projects. We welcome the steps taken by the EU Delegation to Armenia, aimed at detecting crimes and violations of law.

International organizations, and in particular the European Union as Armenia’s largest assistance donor, provide extremely valuable support in the implementation of various reforms in the country. Civil society organizations also contribute to the effective and consistent execution of these reforms.

Unfortunately, the cases of dishonest and irresponsible treatment to allocated funds cast a shadow on the tremendous work carried out both by the European Union and the CSOs. And certain circles, not interested in the progress in deeper relations between the Republic of Armenia and the European Union, use these cases for defaming the Armenian civil society, the European Union and EU-Armenia cooperation.

As an association of non-governmental organizations, that values the cooperation of Armenia and EU as unconditional priority, EaP CSF Armenian National Platform strongly supports full investigation of specific cases of violations of law, fair and impartial trial and the application of appropriate legal measures against the perpetrators.

At the same time, we believe that the European Union should be more consistent in its approaches towards the issues related to the effective spending of financial aid provided both to the state and non-governmental institutions, as well as the activities and the set of values of potential beneficiaries. In particular, we are convinced that there is an urgent need for implementation of monitoring by independent and competent NGOs on all the funded projects. Great attention should be paid to the transparency in the organization of grant competitions and in the events organized by the grantees. In our opinion, when determining the winners of such competitions, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the “biography” of applicants and the commitment towards their mission in the previous activities. Not taking into consideration all this reduces the efficiency of implemented programmes, slows down the efforts of civil society as an engine of reforms and, as shown by the ongoing investigation, may increase the risks of corruption.

In its turn, EaP CSF Armenian National Platform pledges to self-critically evaluate its role in shaping a healthy atmosphere within the Armenian civil society. We are ready to exert maximum efforts to prevent manifestations of such unscrupulous and irresponsible attitude by the member organizations of the Platform. We are open for cooperation in all these areas and determined to contribute to further analysis and elimination of the problems resulting in the misuse of the funds allocated by the European Union.

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EaP CSF ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM

STATEMENT

On the Termination of the Mandate of OSCE Office in Yerevan

May 10, 2017

Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum with deep regret accepted the news on the closure of OSCE Office in Yerevan. Both OSCE in general and its Office in Armenia have an invaluable contribution to the progress in various spheres in our country. We, as representatives of civil society, especially appreciate this authoritative international organization’s projects that supported the strengthening and reinforcement of democratic institutions, including electoral processes, and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens. In this regard, Armenian National Platform expresses its deep gratitude to the leadership and the staff of OSCE Office in Yerevan for fruitful work and efficient cooperation.

The fact that the termination of the Mission’s operation is not conditioned by any objective factor, runs contrary to the desire of both OSCE and the host country, as well as the Armenian society, and is exclusively the result of a destructive step of one member state of the Organization – Azerbaijan, cannot cause anything but resentment. This is not the first case when countries, becoming members of international institutions but not sharing the set of values and rules of conduct in the respective political environment, impede the activities of these institutions both in their countries and elsewhere. In previous years as a result of similar obstruction against OSCE, its offices were closed down in Tbilisi (on the initiative of the Russian Federation) and in Baku (on the initiative of Azerbaijan itself). And now the same happens in the third country of the South Caucasus.

We strongly condemn the absolutely unfounded use of the right to veto by Azerbaijan on the extension of the mandate of OSCE Office in Yerevan, which resulted in the termination of the latter’s operation. We consider it an extremely dangerous precedent, which harms international cooperation.

We expect from the authorities and all state institutions of the Republic of Armenia greater interest with regard to the implementation of joint projects with OSCE and the fulfillment of all political commitments towards that prominent organization.

EaP CSF Armenian National Platform calls on OSCE and all its sectoral bodies, despite the closure of Yerevan Office, to continue active bilateral and multilateral cooperation in all areas with Armenia. We hope that OSCE member states will make necessary effort to restore the full-fledged presence of the organization in Armenia and the South Caucasus region in general.

We believe that in recent years in the context of challenges posed by regressive forces on the establishment of world order based on mutual understanding and trust, active exercise of constructive approaches is of crucial importance. Those countries, whose policy obviously differs from the principles adhered to by a certain institution, must not have the right to a decisive vote, at least regarding the operation of these institutions in other countries.

We hope that the closure of OSCE Office in Yerevan will be a good lesson in this regard to get finally assured that it is necessary to take measures in order to prevent such critical situations in the future.

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