Armenian Accession

The German newspaper whose web site has marginally improved published an interview today* with Arthur Baghdasarian, leader of the second-largest party in the Armenian parliament. He has been president of parliament since 2003, and he is seen as a leading candidate to be president of the republic in 2008. They talk about whether or not Armenia needs a revolution, though not what color it might have, probably because Baghdasarian opts for reform rather than revolution.

More interesting for afoe readers is this quote: “Armenia’s future is not in the union of Russia and Belarus. Armenia’s future is in the European Union and NATO.” Later on he adds, “I am convinced there is no alternative [to EU accession]. Not just Armenia, but also Georgia, and why not Azerbaijan as well. We are small countries, and for us that will be the best structure for cooperation and peace. Europe needs a secure, conflict-free Caucasus and democratic neighbors.”

Whether or not the current 25 members are ready for enlargement, much less the old 15 (or 12 or 6 or whatever), potential enlargees are eager. The EU will have to answer these questions one way or another. My bet is on more members.

* Annoyingly, it is only available online in pay-per-view. It’s on page 5 of the paper version, if you have access.

12 thoughts on “Armenian Accession

  1. Makes sense. Especially as the Caucasus is the region over which most of Western Europe’s natural gas will be flowing in the next 10 years or so. Must secure those supply lines or freeze in the winter.

  2. Makes sense. Especially as the Caucasus is the region over which most of Western Europe’s natural gas will be flowing in the next 10 years or so. Must secure those supply lines or freeze in the winter.

  3. “Not just Armenia, but also Georgia, and why not Azerbaijan”

    Isn’t Armenia still occupying large parts of Azerbaijan.

  4. Yes, about 20 percent, give or take, and depending on exactly how one counts Karabakh. The interview gets into that, too, and he says that the time might be right for a settlement.

    The occupied parts other than Karabakh are not exactly prime real estate; they’re the rockier bits mostly between Karabakh and Armenia proper. New leadership in both countries — and certain changes in the regional balance of power — may be paving the way for a settlement.

    B. is right, though, that by the time Armenia is in the serious running for accession (post-2010), Karabakh is likely to be a settled issue. Either that, or the EU may decide that occupation is not an insurmountable barrier to membership. See Cyprus.

  5. Is it sensible to consider this without first answering the question of Turkish membership?

  6. Yes Doug, see Cyprus. Not an experience we’re likely to want to repeat. Sort out disputes between members before they join. I doubt Turkey will allow Armenian accession until that’s sorted out anyway.

  7. I doubt Turkey will allow Armenian accession until that’s sorted out anyway.

    They’ll be grilled on Armenia in the talks. Turkey is not in a position to oppose anything regarding Armenia. Provided of course, Turkey is let in at all.

  8. I didn’t think Armenia was even part of Europe, what with the Caucasus Mountains being the usual Europe-Asia dividing line. At least Turkey has some territory and its largest city physically within Europe.
    Also, the fact that so many Armenians are in the disapora rather than in Armenia itself might have some effect on its EU membership.

  9. Well, I’m on the record at afoe (in the post linked from the current one) as thinking that Turkish citizens will be voting for their first MEPs in 2014, so I do think the questions about Turkey will be answered in the next eight years. I don’t expect that all of the acquis will be implemented by then, but current members can sing a song or two about not implementing EU directives. It’s something of a developed art.

    In the same post, I wrote that I expect all three Caucasus republics to send their first MEPs to Strasbourg (or wherever, by then) in 2019, so they have an additional five years.

    The Caucasus mountains, for what it’s worth, run largely east-west, so I’m not sure they make a great Europe-notEurope divider. The Urals are much further east, the Bosporus rather further west. Armenia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century and spent under the sway of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Not bad as European credentials go.

    Once the Union figures out how to integrate Turkey and Ukraine, nobody outside the translation department is even likely to notice the addition of Armenia, with a smaller population than metro Berlin. And if the Irish diaspora didn’t affect accession, I doubt the Armenian will.

    Good question Alex. What do you think?

  10. Once the Union figures out how to integrate Turkey and Ukraine, nobody outside the translation department is even likely to notice the addition of Armenia

    Doubtlessly. But if I were as rich as Bill Gates, I’d own a house on the Adriatic coast. A condition that big reduces the value of the conclusion a lot.

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