Why EU’s sup­port can­not im­prove sit­u­a­tion in Ar­me­nia?

Azer News - - Front Page - By Rashid Shiri­nov

An in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tion is that most of the agree­ments signed by Ar­me­nia with var­i­ous for­eign struc­tures have a com­mon fea­ture. Ma­jor­ity of these agree­ments are char­i­ta­ble and they do not seem to be agree­ments be­tween equal part­ners. Very rarely they say about co­op­er­a­tion, since most of them are about help and as­sis­tance to Yere­van.

An in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tion is that most of the agree­ments signed by Ar­me­nia with var­i­ous for­eign struc­tures have a com­mon fea­ture. Ma­jor­ity of these agree­ments are char­i­ta­ble and they do not seem to be agree­ments be­tween equal part­ners. Very rarely they say about co­op­er­a­tion, since most of them are about help and as­sis­tance to Yere­van.

The Euro­pean Union in­tends to in­crease the amount of as­sis­tance pro­vided to Ar­me­nia by 20-25 per­cent, the head of the EU del­e­ga­tion to Ar­me­nia Peter Svi­tal­sky said at a meet­ing of the EU-Ar­me­nia par­lia­men­tary co­op­er­a­tion com­mit­tee last week.

He said this as­sis­tance will be used to fi­nance cer­tain re­forms in hu­man rights and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. The amount of EU’s as­sis­tance to Ar­me­nia af­ter this in­crease has not yet been re­ported.

Ar­me­nia be­gan us­ing the EU for its ben­e­fit since 2004, when the coun­try be­came part of the Euro­pean Neigh­bor­hood Pol­icy. Since 2009, Ar­me­nia has been in­cluded in the East­ern Part­ner­ship pro­gram of the EU, and since 2012 it has been ne­go­ti­at­ing for an as­so­ci­a­tion with the EU. The ap­pro­pri­ate doc­u­ment was fi­nally signed this year.

Dur­ing all this time, the Euro­pean Union put con­sid­er­able funds into Ar­me­nia. In the past three years, 118.5 mil­lion eu­ros have been spent on “democ­racy” in this coun­try. Since 2009, the EU has pro­vided more than 473 mil­lion eu­ros to the Ar­me­nian econ­omy. The coun­try’s me­dia re­port that a to­tal of 25,000 en­ter­prises re­ceived as­sis­tance from EU om grants and 900 new jobs were cre­ated. This is an ex­tremely low fig­ure given al­most half bil­lion eu­ros pro­vided by the EU.

The EU’s sup­port to Ar­me­nia is much more than this. It spent 1.1 mil­lion eu­ros on im­prov­ing the wa­ter sup­ply in Yere­van. From 2008 to 2014, the Union pro­vided Ar­me­nia’s state bod­ies with a grant of more than $270 mil­lion. More­over, Ar­me­nia re­ceived the hu­man­i­tar­ian aid from the EU for 10 mil­lion eu­ros in 2016 alone.

But what has changed in Ar­me­nia over all these years? There were no tan­gi­ble re­forms or de­vel­op­ment, which the EU’s funds were di­rected to. Elec­tions in the coun­try re­main fake, the civil so­ci­ety is still op­pressed, and po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents are as al­ways sub­jected to re­pres­sion. In ad­di­tion, there is nei­ther free­dom of en­trepreneur­ship nor eq­ui­table jus­tice in Ar­me­nia.

In short, none of the goals stated by the Euro­pean Union was achieved, be­cause Ar­me­nia is not a coun­try that thinks about obli­ga­tions, es­pe­cially when no one re­quires ful­fill­ing them. To­day, the rul­ing regime of the coun­try con­tin­ues to mis­ap­pro­pri­ate ma­jor­ity of the EU-pro­vided funds, while only a tiny part of them ben­e­fit the coun­try's pop­u­la­tion and econ­omy.

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