Political and economic relations
EU relations with Armenia are regulated by the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (signed in 1996, in force since 1999), which allows for wide-ranging cooperation in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, economy, law-making and culture.
The inclusion of Armenia as one of the countries of the Southern Caucasus in the European Neighbourhood Policy (2004) and the Eastern Partnership (2009) has demonstrated the EU's willingness to move its cooperation with Armenia beyond the terms of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Armenia, going beyond cooperation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political dialogue. The EU is officially represented in Armenia by the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia based in Yerevan.
The Delegation’s main role and objective is to enhance the bilateral relations in all fields – political, economic, people-to-people, and to assist the Armenian Government to implement reforms. The Delegation works closely with all counterparts: authorities, political parties, civil society representatives and organisations, the media, educational institutions and international organisations.
In all their joint activities the European Union and Armenia aim to:
- Promote democracy and good governance
- Strengthen energy security
- Promote public sector reform and environment protection
- Encourage people to people contacts
- Support economic and social development
- Offer additional funding for projects that reduce socio-economic imbalances
- Increase stability
Negotiations on an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), were finalised in July 2013. The agreement was, however, not initialled in view of Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, announced in September 2013.
At the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in 2013, the EU and Armenia agreed on the need to update the EU-Armenia Action Plan and build upon the existing framework for cooperation. The EU and Armenia reconfirmed their commitment to further develop and strengthen comprehensive cooperation aimed at the continuous improvement of democratic institutions and judiciary, the promotion of human rights and rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption, strengthening civil society, further improving the framework for enhanced trade and investments, continued implementation of the mobility partnership and increasing sectoral cooperation.
The Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements between the European Union and the Republic of Armenia came into force on 1 January 2014.
A Protocol to the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement on a Framework Agreement governing the general principles for the participation of Armenian institutions in EU programmes was concluded in December 2012.
The EU is Armenia’s main trading partner, accounting for around 30% of Armenia’s total trade. EU imports from Armenia chiefly consist of manufactured goods, crude materials, miscellaneous manufactured articles, machinery and transport equipment.
EU exports to Armenia are dominated by machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, chemicals, and foodstuffs.
The current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement does not include tariff preferences, but prohibits quantitative trade restrictions and also envisages progressive regulatory approximation of Armenia’s legislation and procedures to the most important EU and international trade related laws and standards, which in turn aims at facilitating the access of Armenian products to the EU market.
Under the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences, Armenia has been benefiting from the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, the so-called Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), since July 2005. This arrangement offers Armenian exports advantageous access to the EU market since it provides for a zero duty rate for about 6400 tariff lines.
The total value of preferential Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) imports from Armenia into the EU is steadily increasing, from € 61 million in 2009 to € 109 million in 2011. Armenia’s GSP utilisation rate is high: around 90%.