Caucasus in Focus

  • Armenia, Germany, EU: New Impetus for Bilateral Cooperation in Difficult Times

    Sonja Schiffers¹ | Franziska Smolnik²

    ¹Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office 
    ²German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

    German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze announced on July 1, 2022 that Armenia will become a bilateral partner of German development cooperation. This rescinds the German government’s decision from 2020, when as part of the development ministry’s 2030 reform it had determined that previous cooperation with Armenia would be phased out in the coming years. With the CEPA agreement coming into force and generally a more proactive approach towards the South Caucasus, the EU has been deepening its relations with Armenia as well. This intensification of cooperation takes place against the backdrop of the Russian war in Ukraine, and thus increasingly difficult conditions for Yerevan's "multi-vector foreign policy," a highly fragile security environment given the unresolved conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan, as well as tense domestic politics in Armenia. The situation requires a prudent approach from Armenia's European partners, and, accordingly, special sensitivity for and knowledge of the domestic and foreign policy conditions in which the country currently finds itself. At the same time, despite clear limitations in view of Armenia’s security challenges, German and EU cooperation with Armenia still has the potential to put into practice the values-based foreign policy agreed in the German government’s coalition agreement; and to give shape to a foreign and development policy that sustainably supports democracy, peace, and stability in the Eastern neighborhood.

    Keywords: Armenia, Germany, EU, development cooperation, South Caucasus

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