Ararat Mirzoyan, left, with Josep Borrell

Yerevan ‘Actively Discussing’ EU Membership Bid


By Artak Khulian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Armenia’s leadership is considering applying for membership in the European Union, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan told Turkish state television in an interview aired over the weekend.

“Taking into account all the challenges that we have had to face in the last three or four years, new opportunities are being actively discussed in Armenia,” he said. “I will not reveal a secret if I say that the idea of joining the EU is one of them.”

“The people of Armenia have European aspirations, and as I said, we are going through a process and we will see what the end result of the process will be, which at the moment no one can be sure or predict,” added Mirzoyan.

Parliament speaker Alen Simonian, another key member of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s political team, was the first to publicly float the idea on February 29 amid a further deterioration of Armenia’s relations with Russia. Simonian claimed that Armenia has “much better democracy indicators” than some EU member states.

Pashinyan reportedly discussed the possibility of an EU membership bid with parliament deputies from his Civil Contract party during two meetings held last week. According to the Yerevan newspaper Hraparak, some of those lawmakers voiced serious misgivings about the idea, arguing that Armenia is heavily dependent on Russia for trade and energy and that Moscow is therefore in a position to wreak havoc on the Armenian economy.

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After holding talks with an Armenian delegation led by Mirzoyan on February 13, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the two sides have agreed to draw up an “ambitious new partnership agenda.” He did not elaborate.

Pashinyan said earlier that his government wants to move closer to the 27-nation bloc “as much as the EU finds it possible.”

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