June 19, 2023
The decision of the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform on the removal of Mikayel Hovhannisyan from the Platform

19 June 2023, Yerevan

The regular online meeting of the Armenian members of the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform was held. 

Included in the agenda were 2 questions: 

  1. Discussion of the issue of incompatibility of Mikayel Hovhannisyan (nominated by Eurasia Partnership Foundation) with the Platform membership. 
  2. The format of discussion and dissemination of the 3 advisory opinions of the Platform to the government, and other stakeholders. 

Of the 10 members of the Platform 9 were present during the discussion of the 1st issue and the 10th joined the discussion of the 2nd issue with some delay. 

Having listened to different positions, including Mikayel Hovhannisyan’s the Platform voted for the removal of Mikayel Hovhannisyan on the grounds of incompatibility with his current position and the risk of essential damage to the reputation of the Platform. 

This qualified majority decision (8 votes for) of the Platform is grounded on the following: 

Mikayel Hovhannisyan is currently the Vice-Rector of Yerevan State University, which is full-time employment with YSU. 

According to para 18 of the Procedure of Election of the Platform members from NGOs, a member of the Platform cannot represent an organization that has more than 25 percent of members representing the government, including in its governance bodies.  

Yerevan State University is a foundation whose founder is the Government of the Republic of Armenia. The Government of Armenia has a 50% representation in the YSU Board. Namely, 5 members of the Board are high-level officials within the Government, including the Minister of Defense, the Deputy-Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports, the RA General Prosecutor, the President of the RA Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, the Government Representative for International Legal Matters. 5 more members are directly nominated by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.  

When elected Mikayel Hovhannisyan was a full-time employee of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. However, at present on the organisation’s website, he is referred to as former staff. Instead, he is a full-time employee of YSU. It is not sufficient grounds to maintain that he is in fact authorized by EPF because with similar success EPF could have authorized one of the department heads at the Ministry of Justice, for example. What matters is the de facto employment. 

The second reason for this decision is Mikayel Hovhannisyan’s initiative on removing Mr. Hovsep Khurshudyan from the position of the EaP CSF ANP facilitator on a number of unsound grounds. Since these two platforms are very often perceived as identical by many partners, such initiatives harming civil society in general and EaP CSF ANP in particular by a member of the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform have the potential of causing essential harm to the reputation of the latter.  

EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform Press Center