LThe European Union has mobilized a total of €2.6 billion for key flagship initiatives in Armenia after it added an additional €1 billion in assistance to the already announced €1.6 billion, said Olivér Várhelyi, the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement in a joint press conference with Armenia’s acting deputy PM Mher Grigoryan in Yerevan.
EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said the purpose of his visit to Armenia is the big economic and financial investments package which he brought with him “as a present” to the hosting Armenian side.
“I think this project creates a serious opportunity for Armenia, and I am full of hope that we can work actively with the prime minister and his deputy in order to make this reality. We have four years for ensuring the results. From my side, I am ready,” he said.
Varhelyi noted that the EU proposed five flagship initiatives which can considerably change the situation in the country and strengthen its economy: “Our plan includes transport connectivity, resilience and recovery of the southern provinces, energy efficiency and renewable energy, digital transformation and the support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. We allocate €1.6 billion for these flagship initiatives, and altogether we are able to mobilize €2.6 billion for Armenia under this plan,” Olivér Várhelyi noted.
The EU Commissioner added that they are ready to fulfill the investments for Armenia’s economic recovery in a very operational way, together with the entire region of the Eastern Partnership.
The European Union aims at ensuring economic growth and increasing the number of jobs in Armenia by quickly implementing programs for the digitalization of the economy and the transition to a green economy. Most importantly, we want to establish trade relations with European markets and the European economy, which can accelerate the region’s rapprochement with the EU, said European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, adding that the EU is committed and ready to take up an active role in the post-hostilities situation both as a facilitator of confidence-building measures, especially to first overcome the humanitarian crisis, and later on as a key partner in the economic recovery in the crisis-hit region and the surrounding regions.
Várhelyi noted that the plan “envisages €2.3 billion of grants for the whole region, and it’s also possible to mobilize at least €17 billion of investments for the entire region together with our international partners.”
According to him, this means key areas of investments, key areas of reform, through which the current reality would significantly change for Armenia’s population in next 4-5 years, as there will be growth, new jobs, and people would have a stronger and more resilient economy.
Varhelyi reminded that the EU has already provided 9 to 10 million euros in aid, which will soon be provided to those affected by the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict.
Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Mher Grigoryan, in his turn, noted that Armenia has received a largest amount of assistance from all the countries of the South Caucasus within the framework of this program. He noted that this project will focus on SME support, the construction of the North-South highway, investments in information technology, socioeconomic development of the southern regions of Armenia, and investments to the capital Yerevan as a smart and green city.
He also reminded about the implementation of the 2021-2027 joint program, which is connected with the restoration of Armenia’s economy, balanced development of its provinces, modernization of infrastructure, and so on.
“Armenia is very interested in starting negotiations with the EU on visa liberalization,” the acting Deputy Prime Minister added.