March 29, 2024
Forum of Democratic Social and Political Forces for European Integration of Armenia

March 28, 2024, Yerevan

The Armenian National Platform of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the EU-Armenia (CEPA) Civil Society Platform, in collaboration with four extra-parliamentary democratic opposition parties, organized a regular Forum of Democratic Social and Political forces for the European integration of Armenia on March 28 at Ani Grand Hotel.
In his opening speech, Edgar Khachatryan, the National facilitator for Armenia of the EaP CSF, emphasized the fact that, once again, the civil society of Armenia and the democratic opposition forces demonstrate solidarity about democratic reforms and European integration of Armenia. The latter also reaffirmed, on behalf of the Armenian National Platform of the EaP CSF, the willingness to assist the government’s steps towards democratization and European integration, and the determination to strongly oppose the authorities if they deviate from the said path.

Co-coordinator of the EU-Armenia civil society platform Lusine Hakobyan emphasized in her address the increase of security capabilities of the state, diversification of the economy, implementation of real democratic reforms, the resolution of socio-economic issues of Armenians forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh, etc. She asserted that to accomplish all these goals, something even greater than unity, perseverance, commitment, daily dedication, and systematic work of Armenians both residing in Armenia and the Diaspora is required.
Deputy of the Supreme Council, a fighter for the independence of the Republic of Armenia, former dissident at its origins, Azat Arshakyan emphasized the need for cooperation between society, democratic opposition forces, and the authorities in the struggle for the full establishment of the sovereignty and independence of Armenia. He also mentioned that we need European integration to ultimately gain independence from Russia.
This was followed by speeches made by Aram Sargsyan, Chairman of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) Party, Arman Babajanyan, Chairman of the «Rally for the Republic» Party, Tigran Khzmalyan, Chairman of the European Party, and Hayk Mirzoyan, Chairman of the Conservative Party. Noting that the European aspirations of the Armenian people are stronger and more stable today than ever, they welcomed the steps of the Armenian authorities towards in particular, the ratification of the Rome Statute by the state, the invitation of the EU civilian observation mission to Armenia, the refusal of the service of foreign border guards at the Zvartnots International Airport, freezing the relations with the CSTO and the expressed intention to withdraw from the aforementioned organization, as well as the deepening of military and technical and political cooperation with EU countries, including France and Greece, as well as with the USA, India, Great Britain, and Canada. They reaffirmed their position to support the RA authorities’ policy on integrating Armenia into the European Union, stated on February 21, 2023, provided that the best standards and laws of the European Union are consistently observed.
Vice-President of the Civil Contract Party Vahagn Aleksanyan referred to the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on March 13 this year, according to which if Armenia wishes to apply to become a candidate for membership in the European Union, the institutions of the European Union should support this. He reminded that the very next day at the government session, the RA Prime Minister expressed the hope that the socio-political forces of Armenia and, of course, citizens would express their attitude to this message. In response to civil society’s concerns about the challenges of combating corruption and having an independent legal system which constitute two major roadblocks to Armenia’s European integration, the latter reiterated the government’s political commitment to moving in that direction. However, he acknowledged that progress in this area has slowed down. To overcome this period of stagnation, he, on behalf of the ruling party, requested the assistance of the political and social forces present at the Conference.

Afterward, the representatives of the civil society expressed their position on the European integration of Armenia: Artur Sakunts, the Head of Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly-Vanadzor, Styopa Safaryan, the Director of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs, Levon Barseghyan, the President of the “Asparez” Gyumri Journalists Club (via video message) and Daniel Ioannisyan, Programs Coordinator of the Union of Informed Citizens (via video message), Harutyun Kalajyan, Head of Pro- Armenia NGO, Ruben Babayan, film director, Ruben Mehrabyan, political scientists, Lilit Dallakyan and others. Among other recommendations, they stated that the main barriers to Armenia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration are corruption, impunity, violations of fundamental human rights, and a lack of justice and also demanded that the authorities make efforts to combat these phenomena at all levels, work diligently to protect fundamental human rights, and completely overhaul the legal system, refraining from making fragmented and incomplete changes in these areas.
The speakers also mentioned the threats to Armenia’s independence and sovereignty from Russia, and Armenia’s need for full membership of the European Union. The speakers also condemned the efforts to change power in unconstitutional ways, subvert democracy, oppose Armenia against democratic countries in the international arena, and thwart the process of Armenia’s European integration.

Summing up the event, the Chairman of the “Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Center, moderating the Forum, Hovsep Khurshudyan noted that at this important stage of Armenia’s European integration, it is more important than ever to consolidate democratic civil and political forces of Armenia to overcome the resistance of unfriendly countries, including Russia, and effectively counter threats by Azerbaijan.
In conclusion, Hovsep Khurshudyan read out the Statement adopted by EaP CSF Armenia’s National Platform and four democratic political parties, acceded by many citizens and organizations.

Secretariat of the Armenian National Platform of the EaP CSF
EU-Armenia (CEPA) Civil Society Platform