7 March 2019
On March 3, a delegation from Armenia, led by PM Nikol Pashinyan, arrived in Brussels for its first official visit to the European institutions. The delegation met with key EU leaders: President of the European Commission J-C Juncker, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini, European Commissioner in charge of the Eastern Partnership J. Hahn and President of the EU Council D. Tusk.
Pashinyan also addressed the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, describing the challenges and specific calls for help by the EU. He declared the democratic transformation in Armenia as now irreversible. Referring to poverty as a threat to democracy, however, he stated that the country would now need an economic revolution.
On the subject of Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinyan confirmed his stance on the necessity to include representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh in the peace negotiations, emphasizing: “I was elected by the people of Armenia, not Karabakh; I cannot represent Karabakh in the negotiations”. He further stressed the need for dialogue and mutual understanding in the Caucasus and the need for open borders in the region.
In his address, Pashinyan also indicated the expectations of his government from the EU regarding the ratification of the CEPA (Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement) signed between the EU and Armenia in 2017, the visa facilitation process, the reforms currently in development in Armenia and the recovery of stolen state assets.
In the evening, the delegation led by Pashinyan attended a dinner hosted by Jean Boghossian at the Villa Empain-Boghossian Foundation, one of Brussels’ cultural landmarks, where it had the opportunity to meet businesspersons and representatives of the Armenian community in Belgium, including AGBU Europe director Nicolas Tavitian.
Speaking of Prime Minister’s visit, Tavitian said: “This was a crucial first visit by Nikol Pashinyan to the European institutions. I was struck by the warm and supportive welcome of his interlocutors, particularly in the European Parliament. At the same time, the PM provided a very lucid picture of the challenges ahead and expressed concrete demands for support, which the EU should be able to deliver on.”