“Azerbaijan is better seen and heard in Brussels” – Armenian political scientist
Armenia and the EU
“Azerbaijan and Georgia are much more visible, they are better seen and heard in Brussels than Armenia,” the head of the Regional Center for Democracy and Security, political scientist Tigran Grigoryan, said on returning from Brussels. According to him, Armenia is absent from many important EU projects, and the country is mentioned mainly in the context of the conflict with Azerbaijan and to some extent in the context of promoting the reform process.
The political scientist dwelled in detail on the approaches of various EU actors and structures to the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations, the problems that he noticed in the position of the European Union, in Armenia-EU relations.
From June 4 to 8 a small group of Armenian experts visited Brussels with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. During the visit meetings were held in various structures of the European Union, including with members of the European Parliament. There was also a closed discussion with European experts.
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“The EU is not ready to take responsibility”
The political scientist came to the conclusion that the EU does not intend to take responsibility for the settlement of the conflict. Grigoryan stated that among high-ranking actors and in general in EU structures there is an understanding of the realities in the context of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and awareness of the seriousness and complexity of the existing problems:
“Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it has been constantly emphasized that the EU is not a mediator of negotiations, but their facilitator. More active involvement in negotiations will also mean greater responsibility for the possible negative consequences that may arise as a result of this process.”
“Yerevan is considered a destructive side on many issues”
The analyst believes that Yerevan made many “painful concessions” but received nothing in return:
“And all this in the conditions of the policy of creeping military aggression pursued by Azerbaijan.”
He argues that the policy of the Armenian authorities over the past year, the purpose of which was to ensure international consolidation around Armenia, has obviously failed. As a justification for his opinion, Grigoryan said that in various EU structures, the responsibility for all the failures in the negotiation process is laid on the Armenian side:
“We are also talking about the problems that have recently arisen within the framework of the format operating through the mediation of the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the failure to comply with previously reached agreements regarding the unblocking of regional communications.”
“The issue of imposing sanctions against Baku is not being discussed”
According to the political scientist, there is no such question even at the level of “theoretical discussions”.
Grigoryan says that the approach of various EU structures in relations with Azerbaijan is mostly too pragmatic, despite the fact that behind closed doors many speak negatively about Baku’s policy and the situation in this country as a whole.
“It will be quite difficult to conclude a peace agreement before the end of the year”
According to Grigoryan, at least two of the officials who are to some extent involved in the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations and who have relevant information share this opinion.
The political scientist emphasizes that this assessment of the realities differs significantly from the optimistic statements that have been heard recently from high-ranking mediators:
“There is an awareness in Brussels that it will be an extremely difficult task to reach agreements on the most important issues in a short period of time.”
On a possible dialogue between Baku and NK Armenians
The analyst says that various EU structures and officials focus on the issue of protecting the rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, but find it difficult to talk about specific mechanisms:
“In particular, there are no substantive ideas in Brussels, no substantive vision regarding a possible new format of negotiations between Baku and Stepanakert.”
According to Grigoryan’s view, the officials involved in the process are sure that without active international participation, it is pointless to talk about the security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, in a conversation with Armenian experts, they admitted:
- “Baku is unlikely to agree to serious international interference in issues related to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
- “The EU does not have serious levers of influence on Azerbaijan.”
How will the EU react to the large-scale escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan?
High-ranking European officials were unable to give a clear answer to this question.
“Only one of them suggested that in the event of such a scenario, the EU mediation mission would most likely end,” Grigoryan said.
Azerbaijan exports Russian gas to Europe?
EU officials have no serious concerns about the possible export of Russian gas to Europe through Azerbaijan. The opinions expressed by them on this issue differed from each other, but Grigoryan classifies them in this way:
- “This statement is not true.”
- “Even if some amount of Russian gas is exported to the EU through Azerbaijani infrastructure, its share is small. In this sense, the possibility of exporting Russian gas to the EU through Turkey is more worrying.”
- “There are no sanctions against Russian gas, even the EU continues to buy Russian gas.”
Armenia and the EU