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Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission is on a visit to Armenia on 19-21 July. She underlined the importance of deepening relations on the basis of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for the benefit of the citizens of Armenia. The visit of Deputy Director-General Mathernová is an important milestone in EU-Armenia relations as it is the first senior-level visit by the European Commission to the country since the new government took office. It takes place after the last week's high-level meetings of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Brussels.
During her visit, Deputy Director-General Mathernová said: “Since the provisional entry into force of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement on 1 June, the EU’s relations with Armenia are closer than ever. The EU stands ready to support the Government's reforms agenda and will continue to work together with the Government to best meet the hopes and expectations of Armenia's citizens. Our recent opinion polls show that 80% of citizens across the country describe relations between Armenia and the EU as positive. The EU is the biggest trade partner in Armenia and the main donor with increasing support over the years providing €46 million in 2018 in bilateral assistance only. Working jointly towards achieving the “20 Deliverables for 2020” within the framework of the Eastern Partnership is another major objective of our cooperation to bring tangible benefits to our citizens."
Discussions with the government during the visit, including with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Mher Grigoryan, focused on how to maximise the impact of EU-Armenia cooperation by concrete actions: (1) deepening engagement by providing EU expertise through High Level Advisors to help formulate and implement reforms; (2) a CEPA facility which can mobilise around €80 million for private sector investment; (3) hold an EU week in Armenia in September with a series of events around the Partnership Committee in Trade configuration. Deputy Director-General Mathernová also met Minister of Economic Development and Investments Mr. Artsvik Minasyan, as well as with Armenian private sector representatives and International Financial Institutions. They discussed how to best develop together Armenia’s economic potential, including by unlocking the full capacity of the private sector and supporting small and medium size enterprises.
Reinforcing the effectiveness of public services was also high on the agenda during the visit. Together with Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, Deputy Director-General Mathernová launched the project "EU for Armenia – E-Gov Actions". This brings together all the government applications supported by the EU under one platform, such as e-register.am and e-request.am. These online portals have transformed the way in which citizens and businesses interact with their local and national administration by increasing quality of service, efficiency and transparency. Moreover, Deputy Director-General Mathernová met with leading civil society representatives to discuss key issues of governance and human rights as well as EU support.
Looking ahead, Deputy Director-General Mathernová and Armenian Government representatives agreed to continue and enhance close cooperation in view of the government's ambitious reform programme to achieve concrete results for the benefit of Armenian citizens.