Within the frames of the Eastern Partnership Summit on November 24, 2017, Armenia and the European Union signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Let us introduce you to 8 key areas of the new agreement, based on the factsheet provided by the EU Delegation.
1. MORE JOBS
Better investment climate
The Agreement will provide a better regulatory environment, that will improve the business climate and investment opportunities for Armenian and EU companies, encouraging Armenian companies to sell more goods and services to the EU and the EU companies to open subsidiaries in Armenia, which will contribute to economic growth and job creation in Armenia.
More jobs in the green energy sector
The implementation of the agreement will promote the development of clean, alternative sources of energy, contributing to green growth and new jobs in the green energy sector.
2. MORE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Increased stability & predictability for businesses
The relations between the EU and Armenia will be governed in line with EU and international standards, providing increased predictability and stability for businesses. The new agreement foresees that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be informed and consulted on the implementation of the CEPA, contributing to the transparency of the regulatory environment for businesses.
New possibilities for the expansion of trade in services
The new agreement foresees liberalisation of bilateral trade in many services sectors, for example in rental/leasing services, consulting, engineering, photographic, packaging, postal, financial and transport services. This means that the Armenian companies will be able to provide services in the EU and vice versa.
Opening up of procurement markets
Armenian businesses will be able to participate in public procurement tenders in the EU and vice versa. Mutual additional market access will be provided regarding works concessions, e.g water supply and other public services.
3. FAIRER RULES
Strong intellectual property rights protection system
More Armenian companies, as well as Armenian artists and inventors creating and selling innovative, artistic, distinct and high quality products will be able to rely on a strong intellectual property rights protection system in Armenia, just like they can in the European Union.
Upholding of competition principles
Companies operating in Armenia will have to respect the same basic competition principles as in Europe, i.e. no abuse of a dominant position and no agreements between enterprises that restrict competition.
Independent competition authority
The rights of Armenian and EU companies in the competition procedures will be respected and they will be able to confidently turn to operationally independent competition authorities to enforce competition laws.
More transparent public procurement
The new rules will ensure more transparent conduct of the public procurement procedures.
Fairer conditions of employment
The agreement will seek to improve labour standards for Armenian workers including employment contracts, occupational health, freedom of association and protection against discrimination at the workplace.
4. BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY
More efficient use of taxpayers’ money
The new Agreement outlines clearer rules on publication of tenders and review procedures, which prevents corruption and allows for non-discriminatory public procurement procedures. There will be new rules on public subsidies to ensure fairness and transparency.
The new agreement provides a framework for Armenia and the European Union to work together for the benefit of the citizens of Armenia.
More affordable energy
The agreement includes provisions that allow for more competition in the electricity sector, which is the most cost-effective way to ensure secure and affordable energy supplies to Armenian citizens. Market liberalisation has the potential to keep energy prices in check and lower energy bills for Armenian consumers.
Wider choice and lower prices for consumers
The agreement includes measures to reduce unnecessary barriers to trade. For example, public consultations on regulations affecting consumer products will be extended to companies of the other party, and cumbersome labeling requirements will be avoided. As a result, more companies will be able to offer their products in Armenian and the EU markets, ensuring competitive prices.
5. MORE SAFETY AND SECURITY
Improved nuclear safety
With this agreement, the EU confirms its commitment to enhance nuclear safety in Armenia to the highest possible level through concrete cooperation measures.
Improved product safety and consumer protection
Armenia will seek to reduce differences with regard to EU standards to further protect the health and safety of consumers. The EU and Armenia will strengthen their cooperation to increase mutual understanding of their respective systems and improving access to their markets.
More cooperation on fighting crime
The new Agreement provides for increased cooperation between the EU and Armenia in preventing and fighting criminal activities, including organised
crime and terrorism.
6. A CLEANER ENVIRONMENT
The Agreement will help Armenia achieve economic growth and at the same time improve the environment thanks to the adoption of EU standards. Armenia will implement in its law and practices environment protection measures consistent with international standards and agreements. Armenia will strive to remove obstacles to trade concerning goods and services of particular relevance for climate-change mitigation, such as sustainable renewable energy and energy-efficient products. The EU and Armenia will cooperate to enhance a sustainable use of natural resources and the conservations of biodiversity.
The implementation of the Agreement will promote the development of clean sources of energy. This will also enhance security of supply and reduce dependency on energy imports.
7. BETTER EDUCATION AND MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESEARCH
Armenian Universities will participate in joint research programmes with other European universities under the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme: Horizon 2020 (the total funding of the programme is nearly €80 billion available over 2014-2020).
Armenian Universities will also participate in the EU4Innovation initiative, which is directly
linked to the development of innovative SMEs. The EU will step up training and advice to improve the quality of education in Armenia.
8. STRENGTHENED DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Citizens can expect from the agreement that both Armenia and the EU pay increased attention to the cornerstones of democracy, including free and fair elections, to the right to fair trial and to the respect of human rights more generally.
The agreement sets up an independent Civil Society Platform composed of Armenian and EU organizations, which will monitor the implementation of the agreement and may make recommendations to the Armenian authorities and to the EU.