After signing agreement with EU, Armenia remains in Russia's zone of influence

Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
After signing agreement with EU, Armenia remains in Russia's zone of influence

The Enhanced and Comprehensive Partnership Agreement was signed between the European Union and Armenia at the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on November 24. The document was signed by Edward Nalbandian and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Political scientist Arman Gevorgyan told Vestnik Kavkaza about the prospects of this agreement.

- What does this agreement give Armenia now, and what can it give in the future?

- The agreement must be ratified by the Armenian parliament, as well as by the parliaments of 28 countries that are members of the European Union. It will take at least a year, that is, this agreement gives nothing right now. As for prospects, the document gives Armenia the right to participate in certain EU programs, which apply to the EU partner countries. The agreement does not provide for Armenia's entry into the EU free trade zone. At the same time, our country remains the EU's priority trade partner, that is, Armenia has certain privileges in the EU market, but according to the signed document, this market is not fully open to Armenia, as is the case with Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

- How will the problems of corruption and monopolies in the economy, of protecting business from the arbitrariness of state officials be solved?

- The level of all listed perverse events in Armenia is no higher than in other post-Soviet countries, with the exception of the Baltic states. In matters of corruption, the monopolization of economy or the arbitrariness of officials, Armenia differs little from other post-Soviet countries. But there are points in the agreement that the EU is ready to help Armenia in combating these phenomena in the legislative sphere and in the training of relevant specialists and in providing the necessary consultations. The EU can assist in solving these problems with the help of some programs, but the European Union will not solve these problems for Armenia.

- Which spheres of Armenia's economy and politics are affected by the European Union?

- In terms of trade turnover, the EU remains the same trading partner for Armenia as the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. As for investments from the EU, on which Armenia count very much, while their volumes are significantly inferior to investments from the EEU. Armenia expects that the EU will be more active in our economy. Today, the EU's influence in the sphere of the Armenian economy is limited or small in comparison with Russia's one. Our trade relations with the EU are developing most actively - 26-27% of Armenia's foreign trade is linked to the European Union. Armenia is the leading producer of copper and molybdenum concentrates for the EU.

- How will the agreement affect Armenia's relations with Russia? It's about the military base, the nuclear power plant? How will the new document affect the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

- This is a partnership agreement, it is not non-integration, not associative. That's one thing. Second, no paragraph of this agreement contradicts Armenia's obligations within the framework of the EEU and the CSTO. In all cases, Armenia remains in the zone of Russia's influence in both military-political and economic spheres. It is another matter that Armenia was an EU partner, and now this partnership has risen one step higher. The agreement in no way concerns the Russian military base in Armenia. The document says about the EU's readiness to help Armenia shut down the plant after the station's resource end. In addition, if Armenia decides to build a new nuclear power plant, it is assumed that it will be built with the assistance of Russia. In addition to the IAEA, Armenia will have to coordinate the parameters of the new station with the European Atomic Energy Community. As for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the document clearly states that the settlement of the conflict will continue to be conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on the basis of three principles: territorial integrity, the right of the nation to self-determination and the non-use of force.