Armenia, as an Example of Success7 m. | 2019-07-22
In 2019, Eastern Partnership Program of the EU will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Armenia being a member of Eastern Partnership has its own role and significance in its establishment and development. Armenia has been recognized as a successful example within the Eastern Partnership frameworks and in order to present what it is, I will bring two thesis and will try to justify them.
First, being an Eastern Partnership country, Armenia could record an unprecedented progress in democratization, as well as to organized high-level elections.
The justification is as follows. The relations between Armenia and the EU are first of all based on the common value system, and being a part of that value Armenia has its unique contribution as a first Cristian country. When an unprecedented process of democratization started in Armenia after the change of power in 2018 and reforms were applied, the common features of those systems became more visible. If we look at a number of international indices, for example according to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Armenia has registered a great progress in the fight against corruption. According to the Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Armenia has also registered a serious progress. If comparing it with other Eastern Partnership countries, for instance the countries that signed the Association Agreement, Ukraine has retained its positions, whereas Moldova and Georgia fall behind according to this index. Referring to the election processes, it should be mentioned, that within the last 2 years a nationwide electoral process took place only 2 EaP countries out of 6 and it is only in Armenia, that international election observers have recorded free, fair and transparent elections. Only some technical problems were recorded, which didn’t seriously influence the election outcomes. What refers to other countries, in general, the abuse of state resources as well as vote buying were mainly registered in case of other countries. Moreover, these can really have a great influence on the election outcomes.
The EU response to the processes taking place in Armenia are also rather important, and are an important indicator within the Armenia-EU context. The responses were quite positive in this process and we can note them in a number of announcements. Moreover, this positive response is recorded in a financial support provided to Armenia. It is not a secret that the EU has increased Armenia’s financial aid and it is very important in the context of global processes happening in today’s world. Just according to Freedom House, now almost all the countries tend to switch from democratization to a more authoritarian regime. In fact, there is an opposite process in Armenia and it can become an important and major example for both the EU and the world, which has achieved and even now records a high level of democratization. In this regard, the financial aid is quite important, as besides the demographic progress, it is also important to succeed economically, as each country should succeed economically for becoming a successful example and should maintain that progress for a long term.
Let’s pass to the following thesis, which is quite important. The thesis is as follows. Being an EaP country, Armenia could avoid appearing at the center of geopolitical forces’ clash by comparing and not contradicting the integration processes. Armenia has always supported the combination principle of integrating vectors and despite the predictions made by a number of skeptics, Armenia succeeded this principle. Becoming a full member of the EAEU in 2015, Armenia gained many privileges in that huge market and could sufficiently develop its economy. In 2018, Armenia recorded the best economic results among the EAEU countries. It also benefits from the privileges of Iran-EAEU Free Trade Zone having an access to a multi-million Iranian market. That means, it is quite a broad cooperation within the EAEU frameworks. At the same time, in 2017, Armenia signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU, which is quite ambitious agreement, which not only gives an opportunity to cooperate with the EU but also with the countries involved in it. According to the Government of the RA, this agreement is the main instrument for the implementation of reforms in Armenia, which shows its importance and role. Besides political component, the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement also has an economic component. Before signing the agreement, most people were sure that it would be composed of the political component only, as we are already EAEU member, but before signing the agreement our commitments to EAEU had also been taken into account and this economic component does not anyhow contradict to our EAEU commitments. This economic component allows us to implement both numerous economic and investment projects with the European Union. Besides the cooperation within the CEPA framework, we also have the GSP+ system, which also gives Armenia wide range of opportunities and privileges to conduct activities in the EU market. When comparing Armenia with other EaP countries and with their policy, we can state that no other country runs or succeeded to run such multi-vector policy like Armenia. Only Moldova tries to find any terms of cooperation with the EAEU by getting the status of EAEU observer and being just satisfied with it. That means that within the EaP frameworks only Armenia conducts a multi-vector policy.
Hence, we can state, that within the last years Armenia could really prove that it is a succeeded EaP country and has recorded many successes. What refers to the future, it is important to sum up these 10 years and try to bring out the achievements and shortcomings we have had and try to move forward. Referring to the EaP countries, the EU’s policy is very important, so as not to be based only on the principle of non-formal grouping, that is the countries which signed the Association Agreement and which did not signed it. It is important that the agreement should be based on the peculiarities of each country.