European and Armenian Leaders Discuss Issues of Importance to Armenia’s in the EU
BRUSSELS–The First Convention of European Armenia’s–organized by the European Armenian Federation on October 18 and 19 was a great success–drawing more than two hundred European citizens of Armenian origin and many European officials. The participants–who included leaders of various organizations and concerned individuals from sixteen countries–attended the debates organized within the framework of three sessions dedicated to the Armenian culture and identity in Europe–the relations between the European Union and Armenia–and the challenges of EU Enlargement.
In addition to the many European and Armenian officials–religious dignitaries representing the two Catholicoses of the Armenian Apostolic Church and one civil representative of the Patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church participated in the Convention–as well as Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ruben Shugarian.
During his welcoming speech–Chairman of the United Left Group (GUE) Francis Wurtz–the inviting party–declared–"regarding the Armenian question–GUE has always supported Armenian claims not only within the context of the right to remembrance and dignity–but also in accordance with a peoples’ right to self-determination."
The Convention covered many issues–from the European Commission’s New Neighborhood Policy–to the question of protection and development of the Armenian language in the diaspora. During the second session–the ambassador of Armenia to the European Union Vicken Tchitetchian–presented the medal of Mkhitar Gosh–one of the highest official distinctions made by the Armenian Republic–to Italian Senator and Former member of the European Parliament Demetrio Volcic. Apart from sessions–meetings were organized between national delegations from different countries and their permanent representation to the European Union–as well as the European Parliament’s Presidency.
The Convention concluded with the adoption of the Charter that the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation Hilda Tchoboian–presented to a panel of journalists during the final press conference. On the much anticipated topic of Turkey’s candidacy to the European Union–Tchoboian declared–"Turkey expressed through the Genocide of the Armenian people–the very people who represented the values of enlightenment within the Ottoman Empire–its rejection of European modernity." She warned European Union leaders against the integration of a State that persists to express that rejection of European values through its policy of denial and that through its attitude "threatens the regional stability and the right to security and life of the Armenian people." Reminding that "in the eyes of International law and its practice–today’s Turkey remains responsible for this genocide as a successor State," she concluded that we cannot "artificially bring a people into modernity by using external constraints."
All documen’s related to the Convention–and particularly the Charter–will be soon published on the European Armenian Federation’s website: www.eafjd.org.