The First EU-Armenia Conference: the Strategic Future of Armenia was Held in Brussels

  • 13.11.2023
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9-10 November, Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium

The Armenia-Europe Conference: the Strategic Future of Armenia was initiated by the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF ANP) and the Union of Armenians of Europe, in cooperation with the Europe-Armenia Civil Society Platform and the Institute for the Development of Nations. It was a follow-up event of the Independence Forum held in Armenia on 30 September 2023. The Conference was held in the large hall of the Hay Doun Cultural Center of the Armenian community in Belgium, and in the meeting rooms of Ramada Hotel on the second day.

The aim of the Conference was to establish a platform for dialogue between prominent civil society actors, politicians, experts and public opinion makers to discuss the potential of and the current challenges for the European integration for Armenia, as well as the cooperation opportunities in different fields. The strengthening of the ties between Armenia and Europe, which is now the assignment of the Armenian society must be comprehensively discussed in all civil society, political and professional platforms.

The participants of the event addressed a number of areas, including political, legal, economic and security. The initiators of the Conference plan to hold the event annually and include other spheres, such as economy, culture, education, science, environment, etc. in the future. To meet these needs they decided to start a special foundation.

Apart from participation of experts and civil society actors from Armenia, EU Member States, US, Ukraine and Israel, the the Conference hosted high-ranking officials from Armenia and EU as a guests. In particular, Mr Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the National Security Council, H.E. Dirk Schuebel, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, Mr Zareh Sinanian, High Commissioner for Dispora, Members of the European Parliament Mr Angel Dzhambazki (Bulgaria), Mr Francois-Xavier Bellamy (France), Mr Fabio Massimo Castaldo (Italy), Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia Mr Tigran Balayan were among the speakers of the Conference. Mr Aram Sargsyan, leader of the Republic Party, and Mr Tigran Khzmalyan, leader of the European Party of Armenia and Mr Hayk Soukiasyan, the vice-chairman of the Christian-Democratic Party of Armenia were among the participants from political parties.

Oleksandr Bozhko, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Armenia welcomed the participants of the Conference from Ukraine, and the address of Ms Sintija Bernava, Member of the Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum from Latvia was publicised.

What is the vision of the RA national security strategy? Is a strategic U-Turn a possibility? Which countries and alliances Armenia must build its economic security and defence strategy with? What are the institutional tools for strengthening the sovereignty of Armenia? How can the Armenian diaspora contribute to the progress of the Republic of Armenia? Which is the next step after all the provisions stipulated in the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement are implemented? What are the prospects for Armenia’s political and economic integration with the EU? These and many other issues were discussed in the conference.

The organisers of the Conference collected the recommendations of the participants, and after they are summarised in a report, they will be submitted to the EU and the Armenian Government. The event was livestreamed via the Armenian Public Television and Factor TV. There was broad coverage of the event in a number of other media, such as Zarkerak, Civic.am, and the social media.

Secretariat of the Armenian National Platform of the

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Declaration of the Armenia-Europe Conference

10 November 2023, Brussels

We, the participants of the Armenia-Europe Conference entitled “Strategic Future of Armenia” declare the perspective of the Republic of Armenia’s integration into the European Union as strategic.

We will advocate for the comprehensive integration of Armenia into the European Union, the mutually beneficial exchange and development of advanced innovative technologies, the sharing of business culture, practices and skills, the entry of Armenian producers into the European markets and the expansion of the flow of European investments to Armenia, as well as establishing strategic allied relations between Armenia and the interested member states of the European Union.

We will also pursue that the Armenian authorities continue the policy aimed at European integration, implementing democratic reforms based on the rule of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Armenia’s current indicators on democracy, freedom of speech, and the fight against corruption must be considered an entry point. It is necessary to fully implement CEPA as soon as possible and strive for more – the next phases of deeper integration into the EU, up to EU membership. In this regard, the fight against corruption, judicial reforms, comprehensive and full lustration and vetting, as well as the diversification of foreign trade ties, the full alignment of institutions with the requirements of democracy are of primary importance. In the light of the aforementioned, we also underscore the need to increase the role of the civil society, including the European platforms of the Armenian civil society.

Armenia must also sign an agreement with the EU on visa-free regime, which will allow the citizens of Armenia to freely enter the territory of the European Union.

We will pursue that the government of the Republic of Armenia consistently implements reforms in the defense and security sector of Armenia as a process aimed at effective protection of Armenia’s national security interests and establishment of regional peace and security. The most important component of this process is the initiation of systematic and mutually beneficial military and political cooperation by the Republic of Armenia with states that carry democratic values, coupled with the reduction of Armenia’s dependence on Russia and practical steps aimed at its further elimination.

In the light of the aforementioned, we welcome the cooperation of the Republic of Armenia with EU members France, Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Lithuania and the Czech Republic, as well as the United States, the Republic of India, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), we urge the Armenian government to make additional efforts to expand the mutually beneficial partnership network in the security sector.

We highly value the impartial stance of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Artsakh and their support for the young democracy of Armenia.

We are well aware that the Republic of Armenia is and will continue to be targeted by authoritarian regimes for its democratic choice, its aspiration to live freely and sovereignly. At the same time, we are determined to fight to build and strengthen the civilizational future of Armenia in the family of states that carry democratic and humanitarian values. On the path to the achieving this goal, we are ready to contribute to the formation and strengthening of democratic forces in the political field of Armenia.

We express our support to the forcibly displaced and depatriated Artsakh Armenians from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population conducted by the Aliyev dictatorship in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We demand from Azerbaijan to allow the deployment of UN-mandated peacekeeping troops and the offices of international organizations in Artsakh, and to recognize the right of full autonomy of the Armenians of Artsakh, only after which will the return of people to their homeland be possible.

We are grateful to the European Union and individual states for providing humanitarian aid to the forcibly displaced Artsakh Armenians.

We condemn Russia’s military invasion of the sovereign territories of Ukraine, we demand to cease the war unleashed by the Kremlin against the sovereign country and to withdraw the occupation troops from its territory. We call on the authorities of Armenia to join the Crimea platform in support of the fair struggle of the Ukrainian people for the preservation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence.

We urge the Armenian government to start the process of withdrawing from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Cooperation of Independent States (CIS), as well as to initiate a process of inventorying and reviewing strategic relations with the Russian Federation. We also call on the Armenian government to take adequate and decisive steps against the Russian propaganda campaign against Armenia’s sovereignty and democracy.

We call on the European Union to heed the recommendations developed by the Armenia-Europe Conference which will be conveyed in complete form to the European Council, the European Commission and the relevant committees of the European Parliament. At the same time, we call on the European Union to be a consistent claimant regarding the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the RA authorities with respect to the EU.

We intend to make the Armenia-Europe Conference a standing platform for meeting and dialogue between the political forces of Armenia and Europe as well as government officials, civil society and the expert community.

Hence,

The strategic future of Armenia is full membership in the European Union.

The strategic future of Armenia is integration into the Euro-Atlantic security system.

The strategic future of Armenia is the establishment of democracy, including through the strengthening of the rule of law and the protection of human rights.

The strategic future of Armenia is to be part of the family of civilized nations.

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