The Comprehensive and Extended Partnership Agreement signed between Armenia and the EU on November 24 was perceived controversially in Russian media and expert circles. There are both negative comments, that are the result of misunderstanding of the process and lack of high level of professionalism and positive and pragmatic analyses, that are proving the need and the importance of concluding Armenia-EU agreement, including from the perspective of Russian interests.
In order to have a full understanding of Armenia-EU new Agreement it is quite important to take into consideration several factors.
First, it’s important to realize that the conclusion of the Agreement does not mean Armenia’s future membership to the EU. It has come to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement has been ensuring the legal basis of Armenia-EU relations since 1999, that was outdated and did not reflect the existing level of relations. Based on the new Agreement, the EU is to assist Armenia in making a number of reforms addressed to improving the level of life of Armenia’s citizens, as well as making various fields of economy, jurisdiction closer to the European standards. The latter, in turn, will facilitate the trade turnover with the European Union and the entry of the Armenian goods to the European market.
Thus, partner countries from the EAEU will be granted the opportunity to guarantee an easier access for their products to the European market making investments or creating productions in Armenia.
Second, it should be taken into account that the existing Agreement was negotiated and signed with the EU by a country that was already a full member of the EAEU. Initially, it was announced that Armenia-EU Agreement was going to be concluded on such terms in order not to contradict Armenia’s EAEU commitments. Thus, Armenia-EU Agreement principally cannot have any contradictions with the Armenia’s membership to the EAEU.
Besides, the negotiations and the conclusion of this Agreement have never been a secret for anyone, including Russian authorities. Armenia has always been a reliable and transparent partner for Russia that has periodically informed it about the negotiation process with the EU. Therefore, neither the conclusion of the Agreement, nor its objectives were unexpected for the ally country.
And third, in spite of the existing tensions in the relations between Russia and the West, both realize the importance of cooperation in the context of global geopolitics, and the Russian administration has repeatedly announced about the desire to establish EU-EAEU cooperation. Today the high level quality and the results of Armenia’s political dialogue with the EU are the best opportunity to make at least the first steps of interaction that will provide the basis for further establishment of natural dialogue between the two integration unions after reducing the tensions.
To sum up, all this is very well perceived by Russian and other EAEU member countries’ authorities, that is why there were no obstacles for Armenia-EU cooperation and no negative estimation is voiced addressing the above mentioned Agreement. And the announcements of separate Russian experts are the result of being poorly informed or improvident or maybe that were emotional responses to pragmatic politics.
Nevertheless, in the existing comments the common sense prevails, that gives a reason for optimism that not only Armenia but also EAEU partner countries will do their best to take maximum advantage of this opportunity.