YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia’s current government has made “serious progress” in combatting corruption in the country but should not “rest on its laurels,” a senior European Union diplomat said on Tuesday, February 26.
Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, admitted that the reform-minded government is serious about its repeated pledges to eliminate corrupt practices.
“But political will, being the sine qua non element, is not enough,” Switalski cautioned at a news conference. “You also need other elements such as institutions, laws and a social culture or environment.”
“Regarding the institutions, we can see that the government wants to create a new, independent anti-corruption agency that will have wide-ranging powers,” he said. He also praised the government’s plans to enact anti-graft laws.
Switalski added that the EU stands ready to “help” the authorities in what he hopes will be a sustained and “long” campaign against corruption. “Don’t rest on your laurels because the way [forward] is long,” he said, appealing to them.
The number of high-profile corruption investigations launched by Armenian law-enforcement authorities has risen significantly since last spring’s “velvet revolution.” They have targeted former senior officials as well as former President Serzh Sargsyan’s relatives.