BRUSSELS (A.W.)—The European Union (EU) recently published the text of a landmark agreement that aims to strengthen its political and economic ties with Armenia.
The extensive, 350-page document, titled “Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement,” is the first major Armenia-EU trade accord initiated since President Serge Sarkisian made the unexpected and controversial decision to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in 2015. At the time, Armenia had also been considering signing an Armenia-EU Association Agreement that would have ensured increased free trade between Armenia and Europe.
CEPA is slated to be signed during an EU summit in November. The draft document, which has been made available to the public, calls for “increasing the participation of the Republic of Armenia in policies, programs and agencies of the EU,” and states that the two parties share “common values.”
The accord will require Armenia to meet EU economic and financial regulations and policies, and indicates that the government will report to Brussels regularly on its progress. It also calls for Armenia to join efforts in combating international terrorism, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and promoting conflict resolution.
CEPA also calls for Armenia to “stabilize” itself politically, economically, and institutionally, and indicates that the EU will have a responsibility to help Armenia combat the widespread institutional corruption in the country.
Critics, referencing the events of 2015, have posed questions about Sarkisian’s reliability in committing to the accord. His response has been: “We have no reason to not sign that document.”