Integration vectors and dilemmas: determinants and challenges for Armenia

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Integration vectors and dilemmas: determinants and challenges for Armenia 10.01.2018 14:23



December 15, 2017 the Armenian branch of the Institute of CIS countries held a round table "Integration vectors and dilemmas: determinants and challenges for Armenia". The event with the participation of analysts, experts, teachers, students and journalists was held in the Small Conference Room of the Academic Council of Yerevan State University.

Professor Alexander Markarov, the head of the Armenian branch of the Institute of CIS countries, opened and conducted the round table. In his opening speech he highlighted the main problems facing Armenia in the integration processes at the present stage. In his opinion, "all integration processes are interrelated. That is, it is not the problems of Armenia as such, but the problems of the integration project as a whole. If we are talking about Eurasian integration, in this case it is a question of the need for all the other participants of the project to come out of the crisis.

The second problem is bringing political and economic practice to those postulates that are fixed in the relevant documents.

The third problem is the need for harmonization of mutual legislation, which would benefit all project participants".

A.Markarov spoke for the need to consider the prospects for Eurasian integration of Armenia in the context of the framework agreement signed between the EU and Armenia on November 24, 2017.

Mariam Voskanyan, head of the Economics and Finance Department at the Institute of Economics and Business of the Russian-Armenian University, presented the dynamics of changes in some of the economic indicators of the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union in the period preceding the signing of the union treaty and within three years finding them in the structure of the EAEU. In particular, the indicators of the mutual trade of the EAEU member countries were presented, and it was noted that its progressive build-up has allowed to practically compensating for the decline of 2014-2015.

Deputy Head of the Caucasus Department of the Institute of CIS countries Sergey Sargsyan spoke on the topic: "Prospects for integration projects in the territory of the former Soviet Union and participation of the Republic of Armenia in the Eurasian Economic Union". Separately, he considered aspects of information and analytical support of integration processes, and presentation of concrete results directly influencing not only the macroeconomic indicators of states, but also projected on the everyday life of the citizens of the EAEU. Of particular interest and subsequent discussion was the analysis of the role of Georgia in regional economic cooperation if Armenia entered into an Association Agreement with the EU in 2013 (and that was taken into account by Yerevan when it decided not to sign this document).

The head of the Vzglyad research center, Narek Minasyan, paid special attention to launching the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku railway in its report "Railway blockade of Armenia: challenges and actions". Moreover, not only the issue of its economic profitability, but also its political significance, and the influence of this railway on Georgia's plans to increase transit through its territory, was including through the Black Sea coast.

Expert of the Vzglyad research center Anna Karapetyan in the report "Perspectives of the process of Eurasian integration after the signing of the new framework agreement between the Republic of Armenia and the EU" considered the possibility of simultaneous conflict-free participation of Armenia in two parallel developing integration projects.

The head of the Master's program "Applied Political Science" of the Russian-Armenian University Vahe Davtyan announced the results of his research concerning the connection of Armenia to the common gas market of the EAEC in the context of electricity export problems. A retrospective of Armenia's energy policy was presented, beginning with the period of its existence in the USSR; the state of the gas transportation system at the present stage and the prospects of gas energy generation in the Republic of Armenia (RA).

With comments on the available results and prospects for Eurasian integration, the Doctor of Economic Sciences spoke Professor Ashot Tavadyan and Ph.D. Aghasi Tavadyan.

At this round table, student work was also presented. In particular, students of Yerevan State University A. Karapetyan ("RA, CIS and the process of Eurasian integration: goals, challenges and development prospects") and A.Tunyan, a student of the Academy of Public Administration of the Republic of Armenia ("Opportunities and solutions to the safe calls of the RA").

Within the framework of the event, the results of the contest of works by young scientists on regional policy and security issues were summed up; competition of student works and awarding of winners.

Based on the results of the exchange of views within the framework of the event, private conversations with the round table participants, as well as personal meetings with a number of Armenian experts and analysts in Armenia, the following conclusions can be drawn.

1. The Eurasian vector of Armenia's integration as the main vector in the current situation in the Republic of Armenia and in the South Caucasus region, the situation remains unchallenged. Especially in the understanding of those experts and analysts whose scientific and / or advisory activities are of a practical, applied nature and are tied to obtaining a real result in the interests of Armenia and its citizens.

2. Negative attacks on Armenia's signing of the Agreement on Enhanced and Comprehensive Cooperation with the European Union, which took place in the Russian media in late November and early December 2017, are perceived by them with understanding, as a manifestation of the information confrontation between supporters of the Eurasian and European vectors of economic development Armenia.

3. It seems that the greater effect of spreading the conviction in the economic, and not just the military and political, background of the signing of the union treaty by Armenia can be provided not so much by the information support of the integration process within the framework of the EEA, as by the public dissemination of analytical, including comparative, studies. Moreover, both actually Armenia itself, and in comparison with the objective indicators of the economic development of neighboring Georgia, have taken the policy of unconditional rapprochement with the European Union.