The fifth meeting of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council begins in Brussels today.
The meeting will cover a broad array of topics, including political dialogue, trade, rule of law and regional security. The Council will be chaired by EU foreign and security policy chief Josep Borrell.
One focus point will likely be the EU-Armenia Comprehensive Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). CEPA, which entered into force three years ago, aims at enhancing virtually all aspects of cooperation and integration between Armenia and the EU’s 27 members states. It provides a framework for incrementally increasing economic, education and academic cooperation, while at the same time supporting Armenia in domestic public sector reforms and strengthening its rule of law and democracy. In addition, following the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the EU is supporting Armenia in protecting its borders with an active civilian border protection mission.
Armenia remains an important partner to the EU, as a part the EU’s Eastern neighborhood. Brussels is keen to foster stronger relations with Yerevan, which has long favored ties with Moscow. However, Russia’s failure to assist Armenia in its war against Azerbaijan caused Armenia’s pivot to Europe. Last October, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Moscow of attempting to overthrow him. Still, Russia remains Armenia’s biggest trade partner.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, who is leading the Armenian delegation at today’s meeting, will likely push for rapidly strengthening economic integration with Europe and perhaps even to upgrade Armenia’s status to that of an association agreement akin to Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine.
David is a Senior Analyst focusing on East Asia. He primarily writes on economic, political, and social issues and how they relate to the geopolitical environment.