By Rashid Shirinov
An interesting observation is that most of the agreements signed by Armenia with various foreign structures have a common feature. Majority of these agreements are charitable and they do not seem to be agreements between equal partners. Very rarely they say about cooperation, since most of them are about help and assistance to Yerevan.
The European Union intends to increase the amount of assistance provided to Armenia by 20-25 percent, the head of the EU delegation to Armenia Peter Svitalsky said at a meeting of the EU-Armenia parliamentary cooperation committee last week.
He said this assistance will be used to finance certain reforms in human rights and economic development. The amount of EU’s assistance to Armenia after this increase has not yet been reported.
Armenia began using the EU for its benefit since 2004, when the country became part of the European Neighborhood Policy. Since 2009, Armenia has been included in the Eastern Partnership program of the EU, and since 2012 it has been negotiating for an association with the EU. The appropriate document was finally signed this year.
During all this time, the European Union put considerable funds into Armenia. In the past three years, 118.5 million euros have been spent on “democracy” in this country. Since 2009, the EU has provided more than 473 million euros to the Armenian economy. The country’s media report that a total of 25,000 enterprises received assistance from EU om grants and 900 new jobs were created. This is an extremely low figure given almost half billion euros provided by the EU.
The EU’s support to Armenia is much more than this. It spent 1.1 million euros on improving the water supply in Yerevan. From 2008 to 2014, the Union provided Armenia’s state bodies with a grant of more than $270 million. Moreover, Armenia received the humanitarian aid from the EU for 10 million euros in 2016 alone.
But what has changed in Armenia over all these years? There were no tangible reforms or development, which the EU’s funds were directed to. Elections in the country remain fake, the civil society is still oppressed, and political opponents are as always subjected to repression. In addition, there is neither freedom of entrepreneurship nor equitable justice in Armenia.
In short, none of the goals stated by the European Union was achieved, because Armenia is not a country that thinks about obligations, especially when no one requires fulfilling them. Today, the ruling regime of the country continues to misappropriate majority of the EU-provided funds, while only a tiny part of them benefit the country's population and economy.