THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA MEETS THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS
Speaking yesterday at an introductory seminar on EU institutions organised by the FAAE, Per Gahrton MEP presented his views on the future of the Caucasus. "My main point is that the countries of the region should start regional cooperation, maybe a kind of stability pact for the Caucasus, in order not to be ruled by external superpowers". Per Gahrton became an instant celebrity in Armenia and Turkey following the adoption of his report by the European Parliament on February 27. The report included a call for Turkey to lift the blockade of Armenia and reaffirmed that Turkey should not join the EU until it puts an end to its policy of genocide denial. Mr Gahrton also put forward the idea that a conference on Armenian-Turkish relations should be held under the aegis of the European Parliament.
The encounter with Mr Gahrton took place on the occasion of the seminar "Armenians and the European Union" in Brussels, on March 17-19. This unique initiative provided an overview of all EU policies relevant to Armenia, including relations between Armenia and the EU, Turkey's preparations to become a member of the EU, EU aid programmes for Armenia, and other policies of interest to Armenians.
The Parliamentary session on 19 March was attended, besides Per Gahrton, by Dutch MEP Lousewies van der Laan (Liberal), German MEP Ursula Schleicher (Christian Democrat, Chair of the delegation for Armenia) and Italian MEP Dimitrio Volcic (Socialist), Vice-Chair of the delegation for Armenia. Other speakers, on March 18th, included Michael Emerson, Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies specialized in Turkey and the Caucasus and Markus Warazin, Secretary General of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages. The session was concluded with a debate led by senior consultant Frank Schwalba-Hoth, Hilda Choboyan (Chair of ANC-Europe), Anne-Marie Mouradian (Radio-France International) and Nicolas Tavitian (Director of the FAAE EU office).
The seminar was attended by 30 individuals from 8 EU countries including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Luxemburg. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity to Armenian leaders and experts to develop an expertise on relevant EU matters to put in the service of their community. The AGBU, ADL Ramgavar Azadagan and Hay Tad (Armenian National Committee- Europe) were among the organisations represented.
The seminar was organised by the EU contact and information office of the Forum of Armenian Associations of Europe, whose mission is to help all interested Armenian organisations establish contact with the European institutions, feed into the policy-making process and take advantage of the opportunities these institutions can provide.
Forum of Armenian Associations in Europe
EU Contact and Information Office