Troika visits to South Caucasus: Ferrero-Waldner to open full-fledged EC Delegations in Armenia

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, participated in the Ministerial EU Troika visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia on 4-6 February 2008. Together with Dimitrij Rupel, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and EU Special Representative for the Southern Caucasus, Ambassador Peter Semneby, the Commissioner held meetings at the highest level. On the agenda: implementation of the ENP Action Plans, regional, and international issues. In Armenia and Azerbaijan the Commissioner also opened full-fledged European Commission Delegations.

On the eve of her visit, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "Over a year after we embarked into our joint Action Plans, the relations between the EU and the countries of the Southern Caucasus are growing ever closer. This is my third visit to the region, and I am looking forward to discussing the implementation of our ENP Action plans, energy security, regional issues including the frozen conflicts as well as international issues. "

The EU Troika visit provided the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics with Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian authorities, such as the implementation of the three ENP Action Plans, the situation of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratization, frozen conflicts, regional cooperation in the Southern Caucasus, and energy.

The ENP Action Plans in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were adopted in late 2006. Implementation is supported by the European Community bilateral ENPI assistance to the tune of EUR 92 million in Azerbaijan, EUR 98, 4 million in Armenia and EUR 120 million in Georgia over the period 2007-2010, plus assistance initiatives implemented in the context of ENPI Regional and Inter-Regional and EC Thematic Programs such as the European Instrument for Democratization and Human Rights EIDHR.

The focal areas for Armenia are support for strengthening of democratic structures, and good governance, support for regulatory reform and administrative capacity building, and support for poverty reduction efforts. As a result, new premises of the European Commission Delegation opened in Yerevan yesterday. European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner said, "During the recent years significant progress was fixed in relations between Armenia and the EU and today's event in the evidence of this progress. Establishment of full-fledged EC Delegation will contribute to development of relations with state structures, NGOs and mass media."