With this statement, the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society
Forum (CSF), reconfirms its support for the enlargement of multilateral ties between the Republic of
Armenia, foreign states and international organizations. At the same time, we express our disagreement
and deep frustration regarding the statement of the President of the Republic of Armenia on joining the
Customs Union and participating in the formation of the Eurasian Union.
For about three and a half years, the Armenian authorities were negotiating the Association Agreement
with the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free
Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement. It seems that the Armenian authorities had shown absolute
commitment to the drafting and implementation of this crucially important document. However, the
announcement by the Armenian President came to prove exactly the opposite.
The intentions of the Armenian authorities to join the Customs Union to the detriment of the Association
Agreement with the EU contradict their numerous statements where they have declared European
integration as a foreign policy priority.
It makes meaningless the huge efforts and expense by the Republic of Armenia and the EU in recent
years directed to holding negotiations and drafting documents. Numerous projects aimed at
implementing reforms in different spheres of life and strengthening relations with the EU, which demand
significant resources, have now become useless. Completed projects will not lead to any results and the
current projects are now jeopardized.
It is an unprecedented phenomenon, when a country having a far lower level of political and economic
development than the European Union, practically refuses to be integrated in the largest economy of the
world and deepen multilateral cooperation with the most sustainable region on the planet, and
specifically, when this refusal took place in the context of joining the Customs Union, which at this point
does not justify itself even for those countries that have already joined it and which prospects are quite
Serzh Sargsyan’s surprising announcement, which had such consequences, caused unrecoverable
damage to Armenia’s international reputation as a trustworthy partner.
The claims of officials, politicians and some “too loyal” experts in our country, who tried to put the
blame of the failure of the Association Agreement initialing on the Brussels’ shoulder, cannot stand any
criticism. We find the decision by the European Union not to consider about 80 percent shortened
(without deep and comprehensive free trade agreement) document completely substantial and normal,
because no prior consultation and negotiation were held around this new approach.
Moreover, the assessments about the economic calculations and security risks sound quite
inconclusive. If such kind of concerns could be an obstacle on the way of association with the
European Union, then they should have been revealed and studied much earlier and not at the end of
negotiations. In that case, the preference that Yerevan gave to the Customs Union would be
considered as more worthy and acceptable by all international partners and Armenian society.
However, now all grounds are there to talk about national humiliation.
Even if we assume, that by joining to the Customs Union the RA authorities received some immediate
benefits for security and other spheres, there are, however, many reasons to suspect that for a
perspective country will become more vulnerable in terms of external threats. And the
biggest of these threats is the tendency to neglect the interests of Armenia by international community
and the uncontrolled process of concession of sovereignty.
Today, with the difficult socialeconomic
situation there are new factors arising, which only strengthen
emigration, one of the most pressing and painful problems in the Republic of Armenia.
The rumors that are being spread presumably not without the direct involvement of the Armenian
authorities, implying that the decision was made under pressure, cannot justify the denial of previous
constant assurances about the irrevocable path towards the Association Agreement. When such a
crucial decision for the country is being made, external factors, of course, exist, and all Eastern
Partnership countries have faced it. However, the decisions that are most stable and protected from
risks are those based on the consensus in the society about the realization of national interests. The
Armenian government has done nothing to inform the society about the content and benefits of the
Association Agreement as well as the European Integration in general, leaving the stage for cheap
speculations about imaginary “European values”.
All the above mentioned circumstances allow us to confirm that the decision about the Customs Union
was made based on the narrow interests of a small circle of people, who were not intending to
implement the broader package of reforms designed within the framework of the Eastern Partnership,
more specifically, the Association Agreement.
For the current situation, the international organizations, particularly the EU institutions have their share
of responsibility. They have been going beyond the limits of tolerance in their relations with the
Armenian authorities, many times going along with the imitation of fulfilling obligations and choosing a
“more for less” formula. Apparently this served as basis for the Republic of Armenia’s political elite to
treat the EaP process without proper seriousness and responsibility.
Another negative factor was the absence of real partnership, understanding of mutual priorities and
benefits as well as the willingness for mutual assistance between the Eastern Partnership countries. As a
result, each of the countries was acting alone considering the failures and drawbacks of a neighbour as
their own advantage. We hope that Armenia’s undesirable precedent will reveal the need for change of
relationships inside the “Six”.
The intention to join the Custom’s Union and the failure of initialing the Association Agreement is a
serious turnover in the areas of internal and foreign policy, socioeconomic
development and many
other fields. Decisions of such importance should not be made without discussions in the National
Assembly, government, Security Council and public debates. The lack of formal consultations sets
background for us to perceive the Armenian President's statement on September 3rd as a part of
policy which we cannot consider unchangable.
In the current situation we demand from the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia to convene
parliamentary hearings and invite special session, which will evaluate the latest announcement of the
President of Armenia. We call on the MPs to be above political affiliations and demonstrate a
position on the issue of joining the Customs Union and refusing the Association
Agreement, as this choice goes beyond the interests of certain political parties and predicts the future of
Armenia for a longterm
We invite the representatives of the Armenian authorities to take part in the conference of the Eastern
Partnership Civil Society Forum’s National Platform, which will take place in hotel “Hrazdan”, on 19
September 2013, 14:0017:
00; and present the justifications for Sargsyan’s announcement and the
failure of the initialing of Association Agreement.
We are sure that for every single citizen of the Republic of Armenia who knows the consequences of
this choice, who values the independence which was gained through big losses and appreciates the
democratic development of the country, the decision announced on September 3 cannot be accepted.
The situation can be improved only by consolidation of nonindifferent
layers of the society and by civic
activism. Irrespective of the developments of the coming months the Armenian National Platform of the
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums will be faithful to the European integration process and invites
all the interested people for close cooperation.
17 September, 2013