Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (70)

Seán Crowe

Question:

70. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade considering Armenia’s decision to turn away from the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative and join the Russian-led Customs Union, the specific bilateral engagements his Department had with the Armenian Government; and if he discussed the issue of Armenian-EU relations with his European counterparts. [23212/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Officials from my Department met representatives from the Armenian Embassy last October, following the decision by President Sargsyan that Armenia would join the Eurasian Customs Union, and would not proceed with the initialling of an Association Agreement with the European Union. At that meeting, it was made clear to the Armenian side that, while we respected their sovereign choice, we and other EU member states were disappointed at the decision to end work on the Association Agreement after four years of negotiations. The Armenian side cited economic and security considerations in explanation of the decision, and emphasised that Armenia still wishes to pursue closer relations with the EU. At the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013, the EU and Armenia agreed a joint statement which affirms a shared commitment to further develop and strengthen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest within the Eastern Partnership. The EU’s relationship with Armenia continues to be pursued through the Eastern Partnership, and within the overall framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy which was the subject of Ministerial discussion at the most recent meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.