Armenia on the hunt for way to realize European dream
By Jamila Babayeva
Armenia intends to get closer to Europe by a road map which will not damage its Eurasian integration.
"Armenia needs to develop a road map for integration into the European Union which should not contradict with the Eurasian integration," PM Ovik Abramyan said at the parliament on May 21.
Abramyan made the statement following French President Francois Hollande's recent appeal for finding a model that will allow Armenia to sign the Association Agreement with the EU and at the same time join the Customs Union.
Armenia's decision to join the Russia-led Customs Union has led the authorities to cancel an earlier decision to sign the Association Agreement in November 2013. The EU expressed regret for Armenia's decision, which has strained relations between the two sides.
After Armenia's support for Russia's annexation of Crimea, the EU is not welcoming Armenia with open arms. Sweden, an EU member state, believes that Armenia is not ready to be in the same league with the Union's members.
"I think Armenia is in a different league," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said recently. "We saw, for example, that Armenians are supporting policies which are against Ukraine. So I think Armenia no longer qualifies to be in the same league in terms of political affinity."
PM Abramyan believes that European values are conscious choice of the Armenian people and the country will continue this process.
The majority of Armenian people support the country's integration to Russia-led unions. The Caucasus Research Resource Center's recent survey shows that about 41 percent of the respondents support Armenia's EU integration, while 55 percent support the country's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.
Head of EU delegation to Armenia Traian Hristea said Armenia's joining processes to the CU have led to the suspension of some European programs in the country.
He expressed hope that EU-Armenia relations will develop. "I hope that relations will develop, contributing to stability, security, and prosperity in the South Caucasus," he said recently.
Armenia hopes to cooperate closely with the EU, but the process is restricted by its strong pro-Russian aspirations. Yerevan is devoted to its pro-Russian vector, which does not allow Armenia to achieve its European dream in the near future.