Commissioner Hahn announced new support to Armenia (03/11/2014)
On the first official working day in his new competence as Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn met today in Brussels with the Armenian Minister of Economy, Karen Chshmaritian,
“The EU and Armenia are committed to continuing cooperation in areas of mutual interest based on shared values. We support the country’s modernisation efforts and we will continue encouraging necessary reforms in Armenia”, said Commissioner Hahn.
The Commissioner, together with Minister Chshmaritian, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, launching the Single Support Framework for EU-support to Armenia, which sets strategic objectives and priorities for future cooperation in 2014-2017 (between €140 - € 170). Private sector, public administration and justice will be the three priority sectors for implementing reform. These measures will be complemented by support to the modernisation of public institutions and support to civil society.
The Commissioner also announced today a first package of EU assistance for 2014 under the new Single Support Framework. The fresh funding of € 19 million will focus on small businesses and human rights protection in Armenia. The assistance is provided within the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Supporting businesses and innovative start-ups can, in a longer run, boost more job opportunities, increase the economic competitiveness, and enhance the overall progress of the private sector of Armenia. In the field of human rights protection, the new programme will help improve relevant legislation in the areas of right to free elections, torture prevention, anti-discrimination, gender equality and child protection.
Finally, the Commissioner and Minister Chshmaritian signed today a Financing Agreement for a Sector Support Programme to Agriculture and Rural Development worth € 25 million.
Watch the video here: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I094767&sitelang=en
The policy context
The Eastern Partnership is the main policy framework for EU-Armenia relations, aiming at bringing Armenia closer to the EU. It represents the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy focussing on Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The Single Support Framework 2014-17
The Single Support Framework is a programming document which will chart EU support to Armenia in the period of 2014-2017. It has been consulted with national authorities, civil society, EU institutions and EU Member States.
The three following priority sectors of intervention have been agreed: private sector development, public administration reform and justice sector reform. In addition, complementary support will be provided for training and knowledge sharing to support the modernisation of public institutions; and for civil society to build stronger democratic processes and accountability systems.
The indicative allocation for the whole period is foreseen between a minimum of €140 million and a maximum of €170 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country's needs and commitment to reforms. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
Annual Action Programme 2014
The support package (called Annual Action programme 2014) provides in total €19 million of bilateral allocation to Armenia in 2014 for two actions:
1. Support to SME Development in Armenia (€7 million): to enhance the policy making process and coordinated support to SMEs, strengthen and organise private sector that implements SME policies, upgrade process of commercialisation of ideas by linking research institutions and businesses, improve design and management of existing incubators and Free Economic Zones, and diversify access to finance for innovative start-ups and small businesses.
2. Support to human rights protection (€12 million): to enhance electoral system, make progress in torture prevention, provide greater protection against discrimination for persons belonging to minorities, people with disabilities and to other vulnerable groups, develop effective gender equality mechanisms and protection of victims of domestic/gender-based violence, and improve child protection system.
In addition to these two actions, further €15 million is set aside for the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) project aiming to diversify the sources of financing for start-up businesses and SMEs in Armenia.
Financing Agreement of the Support Programme to Agriculture and Rural Development:
Sector Support Programme to Agriculture and Rural Development (€25 million) has been adopted in 2013, as a part of the Annual Action Programme for Armenia 2013.
The programme is intended to contribute to efficient and sustainable agriculture and development of rural areas in Armenia, in line with the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) approach. The action will help improve the agricultural institutions, encourage the development of farmers’ associations and improve access to more affordable food for Armenian citizens, and contribute to better conditions in rural area
For more information
Delegation of the European Union to Armenia:
The Single Support Framework 2014-17: