Armenia and European Union Sign Landmark Partnership Agreement
BRUSSELS—Armenia and the European Union on Friday signed a long-anticipated accord, known as the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which aims to strengthen ties between the two sides.
The agreement was signed by Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
“This comprehensive and ambitious agreement is our joint endeavor that opens a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the Republic of Armenia and the European Union,” Nalbandian said at the signing ceremony.
“By reaffirming commitments to the consolidation of democratic institutions, human rights, the rule of law the CEPA gives a strong impetus to the continuation of the reforms in Armenia,” Minister Nalbandian added.
“It is important that CEPA reaffirms EU’s clear support to the efforts and approaches of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs for the peaceful resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict based on the norms and principles of international law,” the Armenian Foreign Minister stated.
“This agreement is the first of this kind that is concluded with a party that is also a member of the Eurasian Economic Union. It will now be very important to implement it,” said Mogherini.
Attending the ceremony were President Serzh Sarkisian and the President of European Council Donald Tusk.
Sarkisian and Nalbandian are in Brussels to attend the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit. The signing ceremony became the highlight of the summit, which brings togethers leaders from the European Union and the South Caucasus.
This agreement has been in the works for several years, with diplomatic efforts around the specifics of the deal accelerating during the past several months.
In 2013, Armenia and European were poised to sign an Association Agreement, which would have made Armenia part of the “deep and comprehensive free trade area” with the European Union. President Sarkisian backed out of that deal, opting instead to become a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, known as the EEU.
Under the agreement, the sides express determination to strengthen comprehensive political and economic partnership and cooperation – based on common values and close ties, including by raising Armenia’s participation in the European Union’s policy, programs and works of agencies.
The agreement seeks to boost, preserve and strengthen peace and stability in both regional and international levels, including combining efforts for eliminating sources of tension, through enhancing border security, as well as cross-border cooperation and friendly relations. Mobility and contacts between peoples of various countries will also be expanded.
The agreement stresses the significance of Armenia’s commitment for the peaceful and lasting settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the necessity of reaching this settlement as soon as possible within the frameworks of the negotiations of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs: by also accepting the necessity of reaching this settlement based on goals and principles stipulated in the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act , namely the goals and principles which concern avoiding the use of force or the threat of use of force, territorial integrity of states and equality and self-determination right of peoples and are reflected in all statements of within the frames of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship since the 2008 OSCE 16th ministerial council meeting: mentioning also the European Union’s commitment in assisting the process of the settlement.
As common values, the agreement mentions respect for democratic principles, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely stipulated in the UN Charter, the OSCE Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 New Europe Paris Charter, as well as in other relevant human rights documents, for example the UN Human Rights Universal Declaration and the European Convention of Human Rights, comprises the domestic and foreign policy basis of the sides and important element of the agreement.
The sides reaffirm their commitments for liberal market economy principles, sustainable development, regional cooperation and effective versatility.