July 18, 2023
In the large hall of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia, EaP CSF Armenian National Platform held its conference on “Reconceptualizing Eastern Partnership in the Face of New Challenges and Opportunities”. The conference brought together over 40 EaP CSF Armenian National Platform members, guest experts, and political scientists.
In the event’s first session, RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paruyr Hovhannisyan, and the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, Ms. Andrea Wiktorin delivered speeches on the prospects of Armenia’s integration to the EU and the potential that the Eastern Partnership format has to aid this process given the different speeds at which other EaP countries have integrated to the EU.
Both speakers contentedly emphasized the rapid pace of the evolution of EU-Armenia relations and presented the work done in various directions. The chair of the session, Mr. Hovsep Khurshudyan, who is also the EaP CSF National Facilitator for Armenia, mentioned that the conference is one of Ambassador Wiktorin’s last events in Armenia as her term of office is soon coming to an end. He emphasized the great contribution the ambassador has made to the Armenia-EU relations. The valiant efforts of Ms. Wiktorin and the ambassadors of other Western countries to deescalate the situation on the border in Syunik and Gegharkunik through brave personal visits to the borders and border communities, increasing resistance from EU, and other initiatives is especially noteworthy. ANP’s facilitator also acknowledged Ambassador Wiktorin’s sustained efforts in the implementation of development programs in Syunik and in the deployment of the EU monitoring mission on the eastern borders of Armenia. Mr. Khurshudyan also extended words of gratitude to the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its constant readiness to engage in strategic communication with the Armenian civil society.
The speakers then answered the questions of the audience addressing the immanent humanitarian catastrophe in Artsakh, the possibilities of opening the Lachin corridor, the need for an interim reform of the security system in Armenia, and the complication of the process of EU visa obtainment for Armenian citizens.
During the conference, the members of the Armenian delegation participating in the workshop organized by the Swedish ForumCiv on June 25-30 in Stockholm, the founder of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs and director of research projects, Mr. Styopa Safaryan, the director of the Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Mr. Stepan Grigoryan, as well as the president of European Party of Armenia, Mr. Tigran Khzmalyan, presented speeches on the topic “The Component of Regional Security in the Renewed Eastern Partnership in the Context of the Resolution of the Artsakh Conflict” and shared their impressions with the audience members. They elaborated on the workshop’s outcomes. The session was chaired by the coordinator of the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform, president of “The Europe in Law Association”, Ms. Lusine Hakobyan, who was among the members of the delegation that participated in ForumCiv’s workshop earlier in June.
The speakers presented to the audience the reformatting process of the Eastern Partnership that is taking place parallel to the process of deeper integration, or, in other words, the full membership of the EaP triad, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, with the European Union. They said that bold attitudes critical to the current situation have been expressed that view the expulsion of these three countries and the inclusion of Balkan and Central-Asian countries to be a realistic possibility. More specifically, the Armenian and Belorussian delegations, as well as many of the European experts and representatives of the civil society have not welcomed this perspective during the discussions in Sweden. Finally, judging by the shifted stance of EU officials towards this matter, the current composition of the Eastern Partnership will most definitely remain unchanged. The reforms will presumably target its structure and content.
During a vigorous debate, the conference participants exchanged views on how the process of reconceptualizing and reformulating EaP could aid the strengthening of security in our region and help prevent and regulate the catastrophic and volatile situation created in Artsakh.
The debate marked the end of the conference.
Considering the immanent humanitarian catastrophe that the total blockade of the Lachin Corridor can engender, many of ANP’s members stayed after the conference to discuss the possible efforts that the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform in particular, and the Armenian civil society in general, can make to overcome the blockade of Artsakh, to intensify the cooperation with our international partners in this matter, and to organize different campaigns.
Secretariat of EaP CSF Armenian National Platform