This week Euronest Parliamentary Assembly’s (PA) fourth session where Armenian officials and EU MPs made important political statements was held in Yerevan. However, many people still wonder what Euronest is. This publication of the Key section aims to bridge this gap.
1. What is Euronest?
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly is a parliamentary forum established to promote political association and further economic integration between the European Union and the Eastern European Partners. As an institution responsible for parliamentary consultation, supervision and monitoring, Euronest contributes to the strengthening and development of the Eastern Partnership.
2. How and when was Euronest established?
The first session of the Euronest PA took place in Brussels on May 2, 2011. At the session, the EU MPs had a meeting with the MPs of six Eastern Partnership member states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – to constitute the new assembly.
3. Why does the delegation of Belarus not take part in Euronest?
Although Belarus is a European Neighborhood member state, the EU faces issues related to President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. It is noteworthy that addressing the first session of the Euronest PA, Armenian National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan said that “one of Euronest’s tasks is to engage Belarus in this process and to try to encourage further reforms in the country to enable the Belarusian delegation to fill the vacant seats in the future.”
4. What relations do Armenia and Azerbaijan have within the framework of the Euronest?
The second ordinary session of the Euronest PA was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Armenian parliamentary delegation composed of nine members attended the session. Head of the Armenian delegation to Euronest Vahan Hovhannisyan said the delegation actively took part in the session’s activities. Commenting on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s statement at the opening of the session in which he called Armenians “fascists,” Vahan Hovhannisyan said that thereby Aliyev dealt an enormous blow to the image of his own country.
Azerbaijan refused to take part in the fourth session of the Euronest PA in Yerevan on March 17-18. Vice-President of European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, Euronest PA Co-Chairs Boris Tarasyuk and Heidi Hautala expressed their regret and concerns with regard to it. President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan also said that he regrets the Azerbaijani side evades meeting Armenia halfway by responding to its steps towards constructive dialogue.
5. What is the structure of the Euronest?
The Euronest PA is comprised of 60 EU MPs and 10 MPs from each of Eastern Partnership member states.
Euronest includes PA ordinary session held by both Co-Chairs, the Bureau, 4 Standing Committees and two task forces. Euronest PA sessions are held in turn in the territories of member states or places of work of the EU Parliament (Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg) once a year.
The Standing Committees hold meetings twice a year.
Euronest Standing Committees:
- Committee on Political Affairs, Human Rights and Democracy;
- Committee on Economic Integration, Legal Approximation and Convergence with EU Policies;
- Committee on Energy Security;
- Committee on Social Affairs, Education, Culture and Civil Society.