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, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said at a joint press conference with Armenia’s Deputy prime Minister Mher Grigoryan.
Mr. Várhelyi said he has brought a package “as a present,” which outlines an economic and investment plan for economic recovery after the Covid crisis.
“We are ready to contribute in a very significant way, a very operative way to the economic recovery of Armenia together with the entire Eastern Partnership region. We have been working on a plan together with the government of Armenia, a plan that should bring growth and jobs the fastest we can after the pandemic,” he said.
“But when we are designing it, we should also look at the challenges that we have seen before the crisis, the challenges that prevented a boost in economic recovery and development in the region,” Olivér Várhelyi stated.
Therefore, he added, “we want to promote the digital economy, the green transition, but most importantly, we want to create trade roots, the connectivity with European markets and European economy, through which we can bring this region much closer to the EU and ensure faster development.”
He noted that the plan envisages 2.3 billion euros of grants for the entire region, and added that the EU is capable of mobilizing at least 17 billion euros of investments throughout the region.
“For Armenia, the plan that we have been working on together with the government, we are proposing five flagship initiatives, meaning key areas of investment, key areas of reform, through which we think in the 4-5 years the realities on the ground can change significantly for the people in Armenia. They will have growth, they will have jobs, and a stronger and more resilient economy,” the Commissioner said.
“Our plan includes transport connectivity, resilience and recovery of the southern provinces, energy efficiency and renewable energy, digital transformation and support for SMEs. We allocate 1.6 billion euros for these flagship initiatives, and altogether we are able to mobilize 2.6 billion euros for Armenia under this plan,” Olivér Várhelyi noted.
“I thin this plant creates a major opportunity for Armenia and I do hope we can work with the government to make it happen,” he stated.