The authorities claim that membership within the Eurasian Economic Union is in Armenia’s interests
The National Assembly of Armenia has dismissed a bill proposing withdrawal from the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The author of the bill was the Yelk opposition faction whose members said that since EAEU membership was initiated in 2015 the EAEU has not brought Armenia any advantages or benefit. The opposition MPs asserted that their thesis is supported by all recently-conducted research.
The parliamentary majority however, voted against the bill and stated that membership in the EAEU is in Armenia’s interests.
On 3 September 2013 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated that Armenia intended to enter into the Russian-led customs union on the basis of which the Eurasian Economic Union was then formed. Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia and Armenia are members of the EAEU.
Before the vote, Yelk MP Edmon Marukyan stated that, starting from 1 January of the coming year, agreements signed within the framework of the EAEU will come into force which will result in products in Armenia becoming more expensive because customs tariffs for products from non-EAEU countries will rise. In order for residents of the country to not have to go through such an ordeal, the country must exit the EAEU.
Before the signing of the association agreement between Armenia and the European Union which took place on 24 November, the authorities said that exiting from the EAEU might prevent them from signing the agreement. But now opposition MPs say that Armenia must rid itself of EAEU membership and begin to move in the direction of development, having come closer to Europe.
“The territory of the EAEU is under sanctions resulting in Armenia taking losses, and even the guarantees of the EAEU agreement do not act on the territory of the EAEU. That is to say, this union – in which one could say we have nothing to do – gives us no possibilities to develop the economy of Armenia,” Marukyan said.
A representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and the chairman of the the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of Parliament Armen Ashotyan answered: The EAEU is not only an economic but also a political union, and Armenia is solving political problems within it.
“From a political point of view it is obvious that Armenia’s security and safety is a condition of its membership in the EAEU. Any membership in any supranational structure comes with obligations. You can name this a limitation of sovereignty, a trick or whatever you like, but this is normal,” Ashotyan said.
He also said that Armenia is conducting a balanced external foreign policy and, as a member of the EAEU, is still cooperating with the European Union.