The most recent survey that assessed the attitude of the Armenian society towards the EU (conducted on behalf of International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights between November 22 and December 5, 2022) indicates that while evaluating the current state of the relationship between Armenia and the other countries and entities 69% of respondents characterized relations with the EU as good or very good. It is noteworthy that among those who believe that Armenia is heading to a right direction 82% characterized EU-Armenia relations positively, while among those who believe that Armenia is heading to the wrong direction the percentage is much lower – 58%.
Download the full publication to read the analysis of Armenia’s implementation of 5 key EaP policy priorities:
1.1. Together for resilient, sustainable and integrated economies
1.2. Together for accountable institutions, the rule of law and security
1.3. Together towards environmental and climate resilience
1.4. Together for a resilient digital transformation
1.5. Together for resilient, fair and inclusive societies
Thematic Summary of implementation of 5 key EaP priorities across the region.
Analysis for other states:
Current perception of the EaP policy in Armenia
According to the survey, the relations with France, Iran, US and China also received high scores as well while Relations with Russia are assessed worse thanthe relations withthe EU.
After the 44-day war, the issues of civilizational choice were prioritized by the Armenian audience. This factor also affected the perception of foreign states by Armenian citizens – the assessment rate of all of them, according to the survey conducted by Russian online media “Caucasus Knot”, decreased in comparison to 2019. This is consequence of disappointment in international partners, caused mostly by their position during and after the war.
When talking about attitudes towards the EU, the Armenian political spectrum could be conditionally divided into four major segments. 1. The ruling party which being under strong influence of Russia in practical terms, tries to demonstrate neutrality in the confrontation between Moscow and the West (including the EU), as well as regarding the war in Ukraine. (Political weight of this segment, according to the results of Parliamentary elections in June, 2021, is about 50%, athough it is, most probably, decreasing); 2. Two factions of Parliamentary opposition have pro-Russian orientation and trust that Armenia will benefit if Russia succeeds in the war against Ukraine. Part of this opposition (particularly, Republican Party) is at the same time interested in deepening relations with the EU (Political weight of this segment, according to the results of the Parliamentary elections in June, 2021, is about 30%, although is, most probably decreasing, as well). 3. Small pro-Western parties with different extent of anti-Russian moods, having sympathy towards Ukraine. (Average political weight of this segment, according to the results of the Parliamentary elections in June, 2021, is above 10%. Although is the figure, arguably is much higher bearing in mind that part of their potential electorate did not vote assuming that the chances for the success were too low); 4. The parties withno clear foreign policy agenda. (Average political weight of this segment, according to the results of the Parliamentary elections in June, 2021, is about 5%).
There are no reliable surveys proving the orientation of the political elites, however, indirectly the analyses provided above could be proved by the research of the narratives related to the war in Ukraine in Armenian media conducted by Yerevan Press Club. It gives the clue regarding the general public perceptions of Eastern Partnership in the context of the war in Ukraine and leads to the following conclusions: a) Although before the Russian war againstUkraine the EU was perceived as less influential international actor than separate European countries like Germany, France, and the UK, consolidated EU support to Ukraine improved the reputation of the European Union in Armenia; b) the Eastern Partnership is not perceived as policy having significant regional impact, rather bilateral relations (both Ukraine’s and Armenia’s) with the EU that are not related to the EaP are valued; c) The Russian war againstUkraine is perceived by the majority as confrontation between the “collective” West (including the EU) and Russia, not as a Russian-Ukrainian war.
Armenia’s independent expert community’s vision of the updated EaP policy
Recommendations for domestic and European policymakers for enhanced cooperation and/or updating the EaP policy.
- Armenian government has to consider CEPA as important part of the comprehensive national development strategy instead of focusing just on the specific areas, where EU support is more instrumental for the concrete period.
- Both the EU and Armenian government have to see the link between sectoral reforms and effectiveness of public administration as a system.
- In the assessment process of CEPA the European Union has topay more attention tothe consistency and quality of practical implementation. Independent civil society and expert community remain major source of reliable information iftheir selection as contributors to the process is proper.
- Political support of the EU to the thecurrent government should not lead to softer evaluation of the progress in specific areas of the EU-Armenia cooperation. This first of all refers to the spheres of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
- Regular mapping of civil society by the EU should reflect dynamics in the operational activities of the concrete CSOs, their integrity and political neutrality/non-partisanship. This is especially important in the situation of deepening division lines in Armenian society.
- Complicated geopolitical situation and Russian war againstUkraine should not lead to further disintegration within the EaP region in general and inside the established institutions: Euronest, CORLEAP, CSF, and several networks created since 2009.
Consistent effortson building, despite many controversies, common regional identity should contribute to solidarity on different levels vis-à-vis the Russian war againstUkraine and in view of transformed post-war geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape.