EU increases financial aid for Armenia
The European Union has increased funding for reforms in Armenia.
“In 2019, EU support will amount to an estimated 40 million euros. There is also an additional fund to the amount of 25 million euros”, said Armenian Foreign Minister Zorab Mnatsakanyan at a meeting of the parliamentary commission on European integration.
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What reforms has the European Union supported?
Since 2014, the European Union has provided Armenia with financial assistance to the tune of approximately 120 million euros.
Funding was provided for programmes aimed at the economic development of the country, innovation, to strengthen the rule of law and the development of the business environment. The European Union provided assistance for the conduct of elections and the development of international relations and transport infrastructure, as well as for energy efficiency programmes.
Now support will be given to reform the legal and education system.
Since 2014, Armenia has received 70 million euros as grants through the Neighborhood Investment Fund. Overall, EU investments in Armenia amount to more than 400 million euros.
Cooperation with the European Union was regarded as important for the country under the previous government – on November 24, 2017, an Agreement on a Comprehensive and Expanded Partnership of the EU and Armenia was signed.
On April 11, 2018 it was ratified by the parliament of the country.
Moreover, it was one of the few documents that received unanimous approval from Armenian MPs.
The document has been approved by the European Parliament as well. The agreement partially entered into force on June 1, 2018. Finally, it will come into force after all 28 EU member states ratify it. Currently, 13 countries have done so.
Among the priorities for the Armenian government is the liberalisation of the visa regime. At the meeting of the parliamentary commission for European integration, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanya told MPs:
“This issue is among the priority issues on the agenda. …work is being carried out both in the EU – through the commission and the council, and with the help of the EU member states. We are trying to ensure a dialogue with member countries for an expert assessment of the potential, opportunities that are created in Armenia to ensure the start of a dialogue on visa liberalisation.”
The document on partnership in mobility between Armenia and the European Union was signed in 2011. The parties pledged to:
• increase the mobility of citizens between the EU and Armenia,
• provide better management of migration flows,
• prevent and reduce illegal immigration.
Another agreement was signed on simplifying the procedure for issuing visas which entered into force in January 2014.