YEREVAN, February 25. /ARKA/. Secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, Arthur Baghdasaryan, had a meeting today with members of the EU Advisory Group and asked for assistance in finding effective ways of cooperation between Armenia and EU having in mind Armenia imminent accession to the Russia-led Customs Union.
"We need advice of economic experts in order to make our cooperation with the Customs Union and the European Union as smooth as possible," Bagdasaryan said.
Baghdasaryan highlighted a set of priority programs, for which he would like to get expert advice from the EU. They are the modernization of the Armenian- Georgian border crossings and the introduction of "one stop - one window” system. He said this program has already received EU’s advice, but it is very extensive and requires a more in-depth research and advice of European experts.
Baghdasaryan said Armenia needs European experts’ assistance also in the justice system, particularly, in the introduction of the probation service and the system of alternative penalties.
Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, said that a number of issues require extensive EU assistance, "however, we would like to have additional discussion of the methodology of this support.”
In a surprise move last September 3 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed a joint statement with Russia, confirming Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union and its readiness to participate in the formation of the Russian sponsored Eurasian Union. Together with other Eastern Partnership states, it was due to sign Association as well as Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (AA/DCFTA) with the EU last November in Vilnius.
President Sargsyan explained the decision to join the Customs Union by pointing at Armenia’s membership in CSTO and saying that “it was a rational decision based on Armenia’s national interests.” He further added that "this decision does not preclude our dialogue with the European structures." -0-