Wikileaks. Benefits Armenia could get from EU’s Eastern Partnership

Painted orange - the area covered by EU's Eastern Partnership program

Access to the European markets, extending Schengen area into this area and aid to develop civil society, are some of the benefits which Armenia and 5 other former Soviet countries included in European Unions Eastern partnership program would get.

Information on these and more, came from a Swedish Foreign Ministry official, as he talked to the U.S. Embassy staff in Stockholm back in 2008. Even though there is not a lot of new information in the particular Wikileaks ‘leak’ that was published recently, it is interesting to read the underlying motives for the creation of Eastern partnership initiative by Sweden and Poland.

Answering the question, how does theĀ Eastern Partnership differ from other projects like the European Neighborhood Policy, the Swdish official, Frisell, said the goal is the creation of a sub-region of six states — Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia — that the EU will relate to “as a whole.”

“Efforts to shape civil society would be done “regionally,” and parliamentary cooperation would be targeted at the legislatures of all six states simultaneously. On immigration, the goal would be a “visa-free regime, extending Schengen to these countries.” So rather than try to shape the development of individual countries, Frisell said, “we want to shape the development of this important region adjacent to the EU.”

Read the full cable on Wikileaks.

10 thoughts on “Wikileaks. Benefits Armenia could get from EU’s Eastern Partnership

  1. Visa-free regime? Don’t make me laugh. At best one can expect easier visa regime, maybe lower visa fees or free visas – but not a visa-free regime. And this wouldn’t apply to EU states outside the Schengen area, notably the UK…

    • Well – that’s what the Swedish official said, and in fact – it is possible, why not?The question is – when, and what would it take.

      They are already discussing significantly easing visa requirements and lowering tariffs by next year. Why would it be so impossible for further easing that?

  2. I am an Armenian and British citizen living in UK who follows political developments in Armenia and EU – and I can assure you that throughout the EU there is no appetite at all for giving any new countries any visa concessions. The EU is yet to “digest” the admission of new EU states such as Bulgaria and Romania, and there is public concern about internal EU migration, let alone migrants and long-term visitors from outside the EU. Almost all EU states have migration issues, and it would be pointless for EU states to add fuel to the fire of the internal political debate by giving more people visa-free access to non-EU states – especially large and relatively poor countries of the EP. I hope we see simpler visa requirements and lower fees – that’s all we can hope for at the moment.

    • EU politicians know very well, that in order for the EU to continue to prosper and remain competitive, they desperately need inflow of cheep workforce.

      So far the workforce from North African states, former colonies, India, Pakistan was sufficient, however, with rising Islamophobia among the populations of European countires EU officials have turned their eyes on possibilities from the Balkans and Eastern partnership countries.

      Don’t get me wrong, this is long-term thinking. Admittedly, EU citizens seem to think, that they have enough problems with migrant workers from Poland, Romania and other new member states. I’ve lived in the UK and I have some understanding of what yo’re saying. However, I’ve been shown studies, proving, that Europe’s economic competitiveness directly depends on ensuring, that they continue to receive inflows of migrant workers.

      On another note, Russia has been and will remain a more attractive location for guest workers, so in this regard, EU has to compete for guest workers. And consider the fact, that former soviet states present a rather attractive workforce – literacy rate is high here, they have remnants of the Soviet Education system which was superior in science and engineering.

  3. I fully agree with you that in the long-term due to population aging etc EU needs migrant workers (especially young and educated and ready to work, rather than live off benefits). However that’s the long-term, which is not what the average EU citizen thinks of. Right now people here are concerned not about who is going to pay taxes in 2030, but who is getting the jobs and benefits today and they vote accordingly. Across the EU there isn’t a single party or government that says “let’s open the borders and let more people in” – but there are many who are at best defensive, and at worst xenophobic. Here in the UK for example, despite foreign students bringing huge amounts of money, the government has moved to restrict and reduce number of students, because a large proportion of them become illegal immigrants; and has seriously curtailed the highly skilled immigration schemes – all because a large section of the population doesn’t want any more newcomers, even if they bring money. That’s why I believe that the best we can hope for are simpler and/or cheaper visas, but not totally visa-free travel. I hope to be proven wrong.

  4. Council of Europe is not European Parliament – they are different institutions. Council of Europe is separate from the the European Union. European Parliament is a body of the European Union; the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is a body of the Council of Europe. Armenia is a member of the Council of Europe (and therefore PACE), but not EU or European Parliament. For more information see http://www.coe.int and europa.eu. Unfortunately confusion about European structures is widespread even in Europe…

    • How can Armenia be in a European Parliament, not being EU member?

      This is why I am saying, basically, as many vital functions usually carried out by Parliaments are carried out by COE. And Armenia is there.

      For more information, please see Activities on the left menu of coe.int

      • I think you guys are saying the same thing. Armenia is not an EU member, there are no Armenian MEP-s.

        But since they are in the same neighborhood, they are in Council of Europe tasked with legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation.

Comments are closed.