European Union External Action

Fact sheet on EU-Armenia relations

Bruxelles, 14/11/2017 - 08:08, UNIQUE ID: 160622_3

Since 1999, the European Union's relations with Armenia have been based on the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which provides for wide-ranging cooperation in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, economy, the promotion of democracy and human rights, law-making and culture.

In July 2003, the European Union appointed a Special Representative for the South Caucasus. Armenia has been part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) since 2004 and in the Eastern Partnership since its creation in 2009.

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. Negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement were successfully concluded on 26 February 2017. Once it enters into force, the new agreement will replace the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. 

The unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains an obstacle to increasing stability and prosperity in the region. Since 2003, an EU Special Representative has been working to facilitate dialogue between the European Union and the countries of the region and to assist the EU in developing a comprehensive policy towards these countries. The EU, including through its Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, 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 resolution of the conflict. The EU also promotes peace-building activities across the conflict divide.

The EU's financial cooperation with Armenia amounted to €118.5 million in grants for the period 2014-2017, with a primary focus on private sector development and reforms of the public administration and the judiciary. The Single Support Framework 2017-2020 will provide bilateral support for a total amount of around €160 million, focussing on areas such as economic development, innovation and personal development, improving the rule of law and the business environment, electoral assistance, and connectivity.

The Mobility Partnership with Armenia was signed in 2011. This is a commitment to improve mobility of people between the EU and Armenia, 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.

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

The EU is Armenia’s second trading partner after Russia, accounting for around 22% of Armenia’s total trade. The EU continues to be Armenia's biggest export market (2016 data), with metals and diamonds among the top exports to the EU. The EU's exports to Armenia consist of machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles and chemicals.

Since 1 January 2014, Armenia has benefitted from the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+). This provides additional tariff preferences to Armenia for exporting to the European Union and is based on strict criteria. 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 aluminium foil and ferrous alloys. 

Negotiations for Armenia's participation in the EU's biggest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, were concluded in 2015 and in November 2016 the programme became operational for Armenia. Thanks to this agreement, Armenia's research institutes, universities and individual researchers now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 in diverse areas, from fundamental science to demonstration projects, on an equal footing with researchers and organisations from EU Member States and other countries associated to the programme. Armenian Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and businesses are also able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring products and services to the market.

In November 2016, Commissioners Carlos Moedas and Johannes Hahn launched the EU4Innovation initiative in Yerevan. This initiative combines all EU activities that support the development of Eastern Partnership countries' innovation capacities.

Since December 2015, Armenia has participated in the COSME programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The programme promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture, improves access to finance for SMEs and boosts their competitiveness. Armenia is actively participating in 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 will coordinate the work of the network EU4Digital: eSkills, which will promote national digital skills strategies in Eastern Partnership countries, notably by establishing national coalitions for digital jobs.

In the period 2015-2017, 1,300 students and academic staff from Armenia will have studied or taught in Europe and some 580 European students and staff will have gone to Armenia as part of the Erasmus+ programme. 25 scholarships have been awarded to Master students and two to doctoral candidates from Armenia supported by Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programmes. Armenia is a beneficiary of 16 capacity building projects aiming at modernising higher education. 70 schools have participated in eTwinning Plus, a platform to enhance school collaboration through the use of ICT. Armenia also participates in 2 Jean Monnet activities to promote excellence in teaching and research in the field of European Union studies. Young people and youth organisations benefited from Erasmus+ activities, with 4,000 participants from Armenia taking part in the Erasmus+ youth exchanges, policy dialogues, and volunteering.

€215 million from the budget of the European Neighbourhood Instrument has been earmarked for 2015-2020 for the participation of the Eastern Partnership region in Erasmus+. It is estimated that by 2020, Erasmus+ will have supported over 20,000 students and academic staff to move between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries, including Armenia.