European Union External Action

EU-Armenia relations

EU relations with Armenia are based on the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (1999), which provides for wide-ranging cooperation in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, economy, promotion of democracy and human rights,   law-making and culture. In July 2003 the EU appointed a Special Representative for the South Caucasus. This role has been held by Mr Herbert Salber since 8 July 2014.

The EU is committed to further developing and strengthening its comprehensive cooperation with Armenia in all areas of mutual interest. Armenia is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), as a southern Caucasus country since 2004 and in the Eastern Partnership since its creation in 2009.

 

On 2 January 2015, Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) (with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan). Despite Armenia's decision in September 2013 not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA), Armenia and the EU continue their political and trade dialogue in areas where this is compatible with Armenia’s participation to the EEU. The EU and Armenia have successfully completed their joint scoping exercise for a future legal agreement compatible with Armenia's new international obligations.

On 12 October 2015 the Foreign Affairs Council authorised the European Commission and the High Representative to open negotiations on a new, legally binding and overarching agreement with Armenia, and adopted the corresponding negotiating mandate. The official launch of negotiations took place on 7 December 2015. Negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement were successfully concluded on 26 February 2017 and will be followed by the necessary procedural steps meant to enable the initialling and signature of the agreement. The new agreement will replace the current EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Based on the ENP Review guidance and the new agreement, consultations with Armenia on a new, more focused, country-specific framework for bilateral cooperation in the form of joint Partnership Priorities, aimed at replacing the ENP Action Plan, have been launched.

The unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains an obstacle to increasing stability and prosperity in the region. Since 2003, the EU Special Representative has been working to facilitate dialogue between the EU and the countries of the region and to assist the EU in developing a comprehensive policy towards the countries of the region. The EU, including through its current Special Representative Ambassador Herbert Salber, supports and complements the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (France, the Russian Federation and the United States) to facilitate the conflict's resolution. The EU also promotes peace-building activities across the conflict divide, in particular through the European Partnership for the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (EPNK). From a regional perspective, Armenia hosted in January 2017 a CSDP high-level conference which gathered representatives of the EU and of all six Eastern Partner countries in order to discuss the latest developments in the field of CSDP cooperation.

The EU financial cooperation with Armenia amounts to €140-170 million in grants for the period 2014-2017 and is primarily focused on private sector development and reforms of the public administration and the judiciary. In line with the revised ENP's 'more for more' principle, an additional €25 million was provided as grants to Armenia in 2013, under the Eastern Partnership Integration & Cooperation programme. In 2007-2013, the EU committed €281.5 million for bilateral assistance to Armenia under the ENPI. This included €40 million made available in 2012-2013 under the Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation. 

The Mobility Partnership with Armenia was signed in 2011. The parties committed to improve mobility of people between their territories, whilst working to ensure better management of migration flows, including preventing and reducing irregular immigration. In this context, the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements were signed, which entered into force in January 2014. In September 2016, the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs officially requested the opening of a visa liberalisation dialogue.

The Transport Council has authorised the Commission to open negotiations with Armenia on a comprehensive EU-Armenia Air Transport Agreement.

The EU is Armenia’s main trading partner, accounting for around 26% of Armenia’s total trade. The EU continues to be Armenia's biggest export market with 29.6 % share in total Armenian exports and 24 % share in total imports (2015 data).

The EU imports from Armenia mainly manufactured goods, crude materials, miscellaneous manufactured articles, beverages and tobacco. EU exports to Armenia consist of machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, miscellaneous manufactured articles and chemicals.

As of 1 January 2014 Armenia benefits from the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences+ scheme. Since 1 January 2014, Armenia benefits from the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences scheme (GSP+). The GSP+ is a unilateral generous EU scheme, which  provides additional tariff preferences to developing countries which are vulnerable due to a lack of diversification and insufficient integration within the international trading system, when exporting to the European Union. The GSP+ scheme supports these countries in assuming the responsibilities resulting from the ratification of 27 core international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance as well as from their effective implementation. The main EU imports from Armenia under GSP+ preferences are: iron, steel and articles of iron and steel , base metals , clothing and prepared foodstuffs.

More information on EU and Armenia trade relations.

 

Negotiations for Armenia's participation to the EU's biggest Research and Innovation Programme HORIZON 2020 have been concluded in 2015 and in November 2016 the programme became operational for Armenia. HORIZON 2020 provides financing in the field of research and innovation.

The signature for Armenia's participation at the Europe’s COSME programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) took place in December 2015. The programme promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture, improves access to finance for SMEs and boosts the competitiveness of SMEs. Armenia is actively participating in the activities to promote economic integration and regulatory convergence - especially in the field of business development. In the framework of the Harmonisation of Digital Markets and Digital Community, Armenia has accepted to coordinate the work of the network EU4Digital: eSkills that will promote national digital skills strategies in the partner countries, notably by establishing national coalitions for digital jobs.

700 students and staff members from Armenia will travel to Europe and some 245 European students and staff will go to Armenia, under the projects selected in 2015-2016 calls in the framework of international credit mobility. In 2014-2016, 13 Erasmus+ scholarships have been awarded to Master students and 2 to doctoral candidates from Armenia supported by Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree programmes. Armenia is a beneficiary of capacity building projects in higher education. Since 2014, 22 Armenian Universities have participated in Tempus programmes aiming at modernizing higher education through university cooperation, 23 schools have participated in eTwinning plus action. In 2015-2016 calls, 11 projects have been funded to support capacity building of Armenia higher education institutions. Armenia also participates in Jean Monnet activities to promote excellence in teaching and research in the field of European Union studies worldwide. In 2014-2016, 2 actions were selected for funding in Armenia. Young people and youth organisations benefited from Erasmus+, with 1250 participants from Armenia taking part in the Erasmus + youth activities.

(EUR 215 million from the ENI budget have been earmarked for 2015-2020 for the participation of the Eastern Partnership region in Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. It is estimated that until 2020, Erasmus+ will support around 20,000 mobilities of students and academic staff between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries, including Armenia)

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