ArmInfo. Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan participated in the 6th Eastern Partnership Countries Forum in Tallinn, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the organization.
As the press service of the Armenian Foreign Ministry reports, Mnatsakanyan, as speaker, participated in the discussion on the "Decade of Evolution: evaluating the past 10 years of the Eastern Partnership" at the forum, thanked the Estonian side for its consistent efforts in promoting the concept and policy of the Eastern Partnership, as well as the chairmanship of Romania in the EU for encouraging the representation of the Eastern Partnership within the framework of their presidency priorities. Touching upon the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, the Armenian Foreign Minister noted that this is a platform that serves the purpose of simplifying cooperation of the Eastern partners in the European direction. He added that the Eastern Partnership is also a good tool for building national institutions consistent with European values and consistent with the European model.
In this context, Mnatsakanyan stressed that he represents a country where the revolution that took place in April-May 2018 became possible, including thanks to the national institutional capabilities acquired over the past 27 years. "The Eastern Partnership has been and remains an important platform for cooperation. At the same time, the Eastern Partnership cannot remain indifferent to the wide context and various levels of relations with Europe," he noted. According to Mnatsakanyan, the level of bilateral cooperation with European countries is also important. As the Foreign Minister pointed out, Armenia also has important relations and a rich bilateral agenda with the EU. "The legal basis for our current relations is the Armenia- EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, which is an important and effective tool to facilitate the agenda of our reforms and deepen cooperation. At the same time, we are the beneficiaries of this additional important platform, the Eastern Partnership," he said. Highlighting the two platforms of the Eastern Partnership functions, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stressed that this is, first of all, a practical approach to expanding and maximally deepening cooperation in various fields between Eastern partners and the European Union, as well as the wide involvement of societies in such cooperation. The Foreign Minister noted that this is not cooperation exclusively between governments, but widespread involvement of societies in various other platforms for 10 years. In this context, as a positive example, the minister pointed to the holding of business forums, noting with satisfaction that another such event is planned for the period of the Romanian presidency. Armenian Foreign Minister stressed the importance of promoting the digital agenda on the part of the Eastern Partnership, as well as opportunities for cooperation in stimulating the digital economy. At the same time, he stressed the role of the civil society and youth platform on the Eastern Partnership agenda, noting that the national platform of civil society in Armenia is an important partner of the government, with which there is quite close cooperation both within the national platform and at the level of the Eastern Partnership.
Another plane of the Eastern Partnership, he said, concerns the ongoing discussion to understand the nature and affiliation of this partnership. "Is this really a partnership of 28 EU countries with six Eastern partners? For 10 years we have to challenge the prevailing perception that the Eastern Partnership, in fact, is more a partnership between Eastern European members of the EU and Eastern partners. In fact, a large and a much more important challenge is the recognition of the nature of common values and common European identity as the axis of the Eastern Partnership. Thus, it must be Eastern or European is it a partnership? ", the Armenian Foreign Minister summed up. Then Mnatsakanyan and other speakers answered numerous questions from the participants. The Eastern Partnership is a project of the European Union, which has the main stated goal of developing the integration ties of the European Union with six countries of the former USSR: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.