by Tatevik Shahunyan
Private sector development, public administration reform and justice sector reform will be the priorities of EU-Armenia relations in the period 2014-2020, as they are expected to be conducive to the country's economic growth, says the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Traian Hristea, in an interview with the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre. "We expect they will be conducive to economic growth in Armenia. A particular focus will be placed on encouraging economic diversification and competitiveness, strengthening SMEs especially in rural areas, securing the rights of business entities, enhancing the Government's steering and administrative capabilities and independent and effective judicial sector. A horizontal emphasis will be put on civil society support across all these areas", says Hristea.
"As in other ENP countries, in Armenia the new European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) will contribute to strengthening relations and bring tangible benefits to both the EU and Armenia through bilateral, regional and cross border co-operation programmes. Indeed, by applying the "more for more" principle, we expect to provide more support for those partners genuinely implementing a broad and comprehensive democratisation process. The ENI will also lead to a more simplified and shorter programming process focusing our cooperation on key policy objectives, and will promote further cross-border cooperation, as well as closer links with EU internal instruments and policies", he says.
Hristea stresses that the European Union has provided substantial support to reforms in many sectors in Armenia. "For example in the area of vocational education and training, it has helped establish strategic structures for reform in the sector, refurbished 12 multifunctional colleges and modernised the curriculum. The EU has also assisted e-governance reforms in Armenia including access to a fast and simple registration of economic entities, a monitoring system for traffic police, and an update of the population registry. Another project, the EU Advisory Group, has facilitated the development of more effective strategic and legal framework within different Armenian institutions and helped prepare Armenia for technical and political dialogue with the EU", he says.