Armenia Considering Applying to the EU

Moves to the West

Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Ararat Mirzoyan, has stated that Armenia is considering applying to become a member of the European Union, in yet another move by Armenia to be closer to the west.

The Foreign Minister made the claim during an interview with the Turkish state media Anadolu Agency, amidst a wider diplomatic forum being held in Turkey.

“New opportunities are largely being discussed in Armenia nowadays. That includes membership in the European Union” -Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan

Armenia and the EU have been growing distinctly closer as of late. Following Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia in 2022, the EU deployed a monitoring mission to Armenia in order to survey the border. The EU has also issued a number of condemnations towards Azerbaijan, some of which have led to strained relations between them.

One of the key EU members, France, has been particularly vocal in its support of Armenia, and has made a number of moves to assist them militarily. France and Azerbaijan’s relations have suffered heavily due to the support offered.

The Foreign Minister’s words follow similar claims being reported in Armenian media that state Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is considering starting the application process by fall of 2024.

The Feasability

While it’s not certain if Armenia will go through with the idea, the groundwork for such a move is already being made. France, Armenia, and the EU have all announced that Armenia is making moves to reform some of its democratic institutions, with French/EU support, in order to more so liken them to that of the west. Such reforms are one of the qualifying factors for EU membership.

Similar moves have been made by Armenia’s northern neighbour, Georgia, who was granted candidate status for the EU in December. At the same time, membership negotiations were opened with both Ukraine and Moldova, both of whom are seeking supports against Russia.

Armenia and Russia, two traditional allies, have had relations have suffered heavily over the past several years over what Armenia says is Russian inaction and lack of support during its conflicts with Azerbaijan. An application to the EU would further diminish relations between the two that are already declining rapidly, and if it comes to fruition is likely to be subject to heavy condemnation from Russia.

The EU has made significant efforts to insert itself as an alternative ally to Armenia during this decline of relations, with the monitoring mission, an offer to replace Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh (Nagoro-Karabakh) prior to the Azeri seizure of Artsakh, support to Armenian refugees from Artsakh, diplomatic support against Azerbaijan, and political support for reforms within Armenia. Separately, France has offered extensive diplomatic and military support to Armenia, however the support offered has fallen short of the security guarantees offered by Russia and the CSTO.

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Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.