Merkel Calls for Collaboration with Venice Commission on Judicial Reforms
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday in Berlin, where he will be attending an international security conference on Friday. The German leader praised the strengthening relations between the two countries and welcomed democratic reforms in Armenia, calling on Yerevan to collaborate with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission when advancing the judicial reform agenda.
“There is a parliamentary democracy in Armenia,” said Merkel during a press conference ahead of her talks with the Armenian leader. “Elections have been held and there is also a major reform process, which hopefully will be through collaboration with the Venice Commission, for example, as it relates to legal system.”
An Armenian government statement issued following the meeting with Merkel said the Pashinyan discussed the ongoing reform agenda and briefed the German leader on the upcoming April 5 referendum, which is aimed at removing Constitutional Court justices. Pashinyan’s press office, in reporting about the meeting or the preceding press conference made no mention of Merkel’s suggestion to engage the Venice Commission in legal system reforms.
At the press conference, Pashinyan praised Germany for its decisive role as “bridge” between Armenia and the European Union, the European civilization and culture.
Pashinyan emphasized the Germany’s assistance in Armenia’s reform process and expressed gratitude to Germany and the EU for the moral, political, and financial support. “It is of key importance for ensuring the irreversibility of democracy in our country,” he said.
“We are extremely interested in the welcoming German companies to Armenia. I have to state with satisfaction that after our meeting last year we have made tangible progress on almost all the agreements. We are very happy for the agreement with KfW Bank to establish a TUMO center in Berlin. It’s a great honor for us to share our experience with a technological giant like Germany,” said Pashinyan.
In her remarks at the press conference, Merkel fondly recalled her visit to Armenia and emphasized that she was impressed by her visit to TUMO center, the result of which is that in autumn a TUMO center will open in Berlin.
Merkel also highlighted the Armenian peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and thanked Pashinyan for his government’s assistance in that NATO-led initiative. She also addressed the ongoing efforts for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. to Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and added that she will continue the meeting with PM Pashinyan with a rich agenda of discussions.
Pashinyan’s entourage included Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan; Ambassador of Armenia to Germany Ashot Smbatyan; Minister of Economy Tigran Khachatryan; the chair of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs Ruben Rubinyan of the ruling My Step faction; the prime minister’s assistant Hrachya Tashchyan; and Tsovinar Hambardzumyan, the prime minister’s head of the foreign relations department.
Merkel’s delegation included Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth; Merkel’s chief foreign and security policy advisor Jan Hecker; chief economy advisor Lars-Hendrik Röller; chief Europe advisor Uwe Corsepius; and Matthias Lüttenberg, Head of the Department for Central, Eastern, Southern Europe, Southern Caucasus and Central Asia Affairs of the German Chancellor’s Office.