The first round of negotiations on an Association Agreement with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia will take place in the capitals of the three South Caucasus countries next week. The Agreements presuppose commitments of the parties to a set of shared values and will cover a wide range of areas, including Political dialogue, Justice, freedom and security, as well as trade and cooperation in sectoral policies and will help the countries to take on board key elements of the EU's legislation and standards.
The EU is launching the negotiations on the occasion of first Plenary Meetings to be held in Batumi (Georgia), on 15 July, in Baku (Azerbaijan) on 16 July and in Yerevan (Armenia) on 19 July.
The decision to open negotiations for an Association Agreement reflects an evolution of a continuous strengthening of relations building on the first agreements that entered into force in 1999. It also demonstrates the EU's commitment towards its Eastern neighbours in realising the opportunity to widen and deepen relations with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative.
The main objective of the Association Agreements is to achieve closer political association and gradual economic integration between the EU and the three Southern Caucasus countries. The negotiating process will be guided by the principles of inclusiveness, differentiation, conditionality and joint ownership, as well as by a strong commitment of the parties to shared values and principles, including democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and good governance.
Attending the event in Batumi and welcoming the launch of negotiations, the EU's High Representative/Vice President of the Commission Baroness Ashton said: “Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have shown a clear ambition to intensify their relationships with the EU. I am personally convinced that through establishing a comprehensive Association Agreement this should impact positively not just on political relations but on the lives of citizens, in terms of economic opportunity, people-to-people contacts with the EU, the environment, just to name a few. This agreement will be a catalyst to the domestic reforms in these countries and can help us to focus resources on the key institutions needed to make further efforts. "
Negotiations on the Association Agreement will cover the general objectives and principles of relations of the EU with each of the three countries, political dialogue and co-operation on foreign and security policy, Justice, Freedom and Security issues, co-operation in specific sectors, people-to-people contacts (including areas such as education and research) and trade.
The EU is currently negotiating similar Association Agreements with Ukraine and Moldova.
Public Radio of Armenia