JULY 10, 2023
At the end of June and the first days of July, the meetings of the working groups of the EaP CSF took place in an online format. Below we present the reports presented by the coordinators of the EaP CSP Armenian National Platform’s working groups and the ANP coordinator /for the WG4/.
Meeting of the EaP CSF Working Group 1
1. From Armenia in the session participated following delegates:
• Suzanna Soghomonyan
• Mikael Hovhanisyan
• Lena Matevosyan
2. The following issues were discussed:
• Local government elections, and electoral violations.
• The ruling political force exerts pressure on the media, initiates lawsuits and imposes financial sanctions on them.
• Use of physical force by the police against lawyers and human rights defenders carrying out their professional activities.
• The process of conducting the elections of the Ombudsman, including leaving the threats made by the ruling political force against the opposition candidate during the session of no consequence.
• The serious security problems and the danger of a brewing humanitarian disaster in Artsakh, as a result of which Artsakh is under siege for 201 days and all kinds of humanitarian shipments to Artsakh are blocked for 14 days /at the time of the WG meeting/, which will soon cause a new humanitarian crisis, despite the fact that the International Court of Justice has satisfied Armenia’s request to apply an interim measure, and made the decision, according to which it obliged Azerbaijan to take all measures to ensure the uninterrupted movement of people and goods in both directions.
• The importance of the civilian observation mission deployed by the EU in RA, in the context of security and human rights protection.
Joint online meeting of the 2nd and 5th working groups of the EaP CSF
- From Armenia in the session participated following delegates:
• Hasmik Aslanyan,
• Tatul Manaseryan,
• Arzuman Harutyunyan,
• Anna Barikyan,
• Naira Arakelyan.
- The following issues were discussed:
Kristina Pitalskaya from the EaP CSF Secretariat, proposed that the report be prepared jointly by the coordinators of WG2 and WG5, which was accepted. Coordinator Hasmik Aslanyan prepared the report of the WG5, it was joined to the report of WG2 and presented by the WG2 Coordinator Tatul Manaseryan.
The main questions:
• Current social and labor policy issues in Armenia.
Social and labor policy. The social crisis and unstable situation created in the border regions, security issues, violation of residents’ health and free movement rights, inability to cultivate agricultural land due to continuous shelling, disruption of labor rights of industrial and social enterprises, and aggravation of the socio-economic situation were presented.
Social dialogue between state institutions, businessmen, trade unions, CSOs, experts and mass media, CSO involvement and participation in social dialogue, as well as social dialogue between CSOs of EU and EaP countries.
Urgent issues of the WG5 of Armenian National Platform. CSI involvement and participation at all levels, continue the European agenda and integration, strengthening of EaP CSF national platforms and WGs, strengthening inter-group cooperation, and strengthening ties between EU and all EaP countries. Implementation of European models of social dialogue in EaP countries. Stable, fair, and inclusive society: socio-economic protection, stable integrated economy – increasing market volume, quality of services, increasing export of products from EU and EaP countries.
• Statement proposal for the immediate opening of the Lachine Corridor
It was decided.
Create a commission from representatives of WG2 and WG5 from all 6 countries, which will formulate a position regarding the current situation in the Eastern Partnership region, especially the socio-economic situation and the prospects of socio-economic integration and rapprochement with the EU policy. Strive that the need to make changes in the Strategy and Programs of the EaP CSF to be reflected in the preparation agenda of the upcoming EaP CSF 15th Annual Assembly, which will contribute to a more active, tough, and effective response to security threats and other crises in the region, the democratic transformation of the EaP countries and to accelerate their integration into the EU. The Armenian delegation proposed to include in the statement a clause on the need for immediate unblocking of the Lachine Corridor.
Online meeting of the Working Group 4 of the EaP CSF
Hovsep Khurshudyan, one of the Armenian delegates, participated in the session.
During the session, a representative of each EaP country presented the situation in their country when it comes to people-to-people contacts, education, youth, culture, research and innovation issues. It also presented what are the main challenges and therefore the main priorities for action, and what actions are being taken in relation to the EaP policy priorities, including those included in the JSWD on post-2020 priorities.
In his speech, Hovsep Khurshudyan presented problems related to refugees from Nagorno Karabakh and concerns related to the 6-month blockade of the Lachine Corridor, which is leading to a serious humanitarian crisis, including the termination of secondary education for about 30,000 children, and the overall situation is close to starvation. He referred to the very strict resolution recently adopted by the PACE, which required Azerbaijan and Russia to open the Lachin Corridor and stop blocking the flow of gas and electricity. He highly appreciated the deployment of the EU observation mission on the borders of Armenia with Azerbaijan, which is necessary for the prevention of new aggressions by Azerbaijan and the occupation of Armenian territories.
Among other issues, he highlighted the ongoing secondary education reforms in Armenia, as well as the need to develop informal education in the regions of Armenia, which remain the most vulnerable parts of Armenia.
The prospects of cooperation in the field of research and innovation within the framework of the EASTERN PARTNERSHIP and the actions planned for 2023-2024 were presented during the event, from which the great attention given to Armenia and Ukraine was visible.
In the framework of the report, the creation of the Global Service Fund “Support to EU-Eastern Partnership (EaP) Research and Innovation Cooperation” initiated by the European Commission in December 2022 was presented. Its purpose is to contribute to the stronger participation of the five countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine – in the “Horizon Europe” program and the European Research Area (ERA).
The initiative will monitor and contribute to the implementation of the top 10 targets and special priorities after 2020, which are related to cooperation between EaP partner countries in the framework of “Research and Innovation”.
A grant tender for the Black Sea Basin for 2023-2027 in the amount of 65 million euros with 10 percent co-financing will also be announced.