YEREVAN (Panorama)—In an interview with Panorama.am, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, who was in Armenia on an official visit, spoke about the prospects of cooperation between Armenia and the EU.
Czernecki, who is also a historian and who has visited Armenia many times, stressed that Armenia is an integral part of Europe both historically and culturally.
He said that the EU is therefore interested in having closer relations with Armenia, despite Armenia’s decision to join the Russian-led Eurasian Union.
Commenting on statements made by French President Francois Holland and by Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, who called for a new type of Association Agreement with Armenia, the Czernecki said that “the EU is open for every form of cooperation with Armenia.”
As for the future of the EU, the parliamentary leader said that EU enlargement is envisioned, but that it will be a slow, step-by-step process.
Czarnecki also spoke about the upcoming meeting of Euronest, the parliamentary component of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, which is going to take place in Yerevan in March. Czarnecki said he regrets that Azerbaijan may be boycotting the session as it wouldn’t be beneficial for Azerbaijan to miss a meeting in which important matters for the region are going to be discussed.
Czarnecki spoke positively about the recent strengthening of ties between Armenia and Iran and said he understand that it is in the national interests of Armenia to maintain the balance of power in regional relations and to cooperate not only with Russia, but also with the EU, Iran and other countries.
Asked about what Brussels thinks about Azerbaijan’s ballooning military budget with revenues it receives from energy projects with European countries, Czarnecki said that the EU is not responsible for energy policies of its members, as cooperation in this sector remains in the domain of sovereign states.
Czarnecki will be visiting Armenia again in March 2015 for the Euronest summit.