The EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee meeting in Strasbourg from Feb. 5–6 failed because the Armenian delegates were deprived of not only the opportunity to speak, but also the right to make statements. This was a first in the history of the EU, writes Armenian delegation member and Armenian National Congress MP Nikol Pashinyan in today's issue of local daily Haykakan Zhamanak.
Furthermore, the official dinner in the Armenian delegation's honor was cancelled by European Parliament Vice-President Jacek Protasiewicz.
"Representatives of Armenia's ruling authorities insisted that Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union is logical and natural, [while] Committee Co-Chair Milan Cabrnoch was astonished by this statement. He said that for three years, they invested huge amounts of money, time, and mental and physical efforts on negotiations over the Association Agreement, and now they say that Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union is logical. If we knew that this was the logical decision, we wouldn't have spent so much time and resources, he said," Pashinyan wrote.
The opposition Armenian MP also mentioned that Armenia is no longer perceived as an independent state. "The perception that Armenia is not an independent state has further deepened — it can be said has reached catastrophic proportions — in Europe. Armenia is perceived not as a sovereign state but as a Russian outpost. This is an important nuance. One of the main trump cards of our official diplomacy is to show the West the difference between Armenia and Azerbaijan and that Armenia is a more democratic, more legal state than Azerbaijan. And based on this there is an attempt to create some sort of concept to ensure positions in Armenia's interest.
"This is an outdated concept. The comparison between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the West is no longer on the plane of democracy and rule of law, but on sovereignty. The EU sees Azerbaijan as an independent state. Though [run by a] sultan, but an independent state, which is fighting for its independence and in its struggle for independence, it suffered, losing territories. While Armenia, according to their perception, is not an independent state but an instrument, an outpost, which Russia uses to punish Azerbaijan.
"Armenia is no longer perceived as an independent state. This is not a new phenomenon — I addressed this phenomenon also in the past, but after the September u-turn, it has become more — much more — deeper. And this phenomenon completes the perceptions in the European Parliament on the future relations between Armenia and the EU. They quite clearly say we are prepared to continue to work with Armenia, but Armenia itself has to say what obligations it assumes to the Customs Union and what it can and cannot do in its relations with the EU," concludes Pashinyan.
Photo credit: European Parliament official website