On December 11, the European Parliament gave its consent to the participation of Armenia in EU agencies and programs, adopting the report drafted by Member of the European Parliament Tomasz Poreba on this issue, which represents the first tangible step in cooperation after the EU-Armenia declaration at the recent Vilnius Summit, European Friends of Armenia (EuFA) reports.
In particular, Armenia will have access to the EU’s world-leading programs in the fields of culture, education, environment, and science. Armenian civil servants will be integrated into EU agencies such as aviation security, medicine and environment, and in other areas on all levels.
“Participants of the Vilnius summit discussed the best way to promote and shape EU-Armenia cooperation, while respecting Armenia’s complementary foreign policy and its integration into the Customs Union. Granting Armenia access to EU Agencies and Programs, reserved to date mostly to EU member states, is a very concrete step in the right direction and will allow Armenia to reap financial and administrative benefits vital for the country’s modernization. I think this is a more than encouraging signal from both sides to keep moving forward in concrete terms, with benefits for everyone involved,” comments EuFA Secretary General Dr Michael Kambeck.
The European Parliament’s report underlines that it was the Republic of Armenia which requested access to EU Programs and Agencies, and that the EU with this initiative aims to promote the modernization of the country.
Along the same lines of the Vilnius declaration, the report clearly states that, “…it will permit the gradual opening of or reinforced participation in certain Union programs for Armenia, offering an opportunity to promote further cultural, educational, environmental, technical and scientific links, enhancing people-to-people contacts and sectorial cooperation, in addition to the strengthening of political relations through the Eastern Partnership…”
The Republic of Armenia is in a unique situation to make the most out of this new milestone with the EU. According to the latest International Renaissance Foundation integration index for Eastern Partnership countries, Armenia is already in the second best position to benefit from its participation in EU programs and agencies.
The Republic of Armenia may, in particular, be able to join EU programs, such as LIFE, on environment and climate action, with a 3.29 billion euro budget for the period 2014-2020; HORIZON 2020, on knowledge, innovation and sustainable development, with 70.2 billion euro budget for the same period; or the well-known ERASMUS PLUS, among others, as long as their statutes and objectives permit for such participation, a financial contribution is made, and a memorandum of understanding is signed by both parties.
In addition, Armenian officials will be integrated into the management of those programs and into EU Agencies, such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and others, gaining expertise and skills from world leading agencies in their fields, which can then be transferred to their national administrations.