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Armenia may hold referendum on EU membership ‘in near future’

28 June 2024
Parliamentary speaker Alen Simonyan with the Armenian delegation in Latvia. Photo: parliament.am.

Armenia’s Parliamentary Speaker Alen Simonyan has suggested that Armenia might soon hold a referendum on pursuing EU membership. 

Simonyan made the statement on an official visit to Latvia, during which he repeatedly noted Armenia’s desire to become a member of the EU. 

‘We share the values ​​of Latvia and EU members, so we need support to become a full member of the EU family,’ Simonyan told local media. He claimed Armenian society had already decided to be a part of the EU. 

‘A couple of days ago there was a discussion in our parliament about a referendum for Armenia to become a member of the EU. I think that someday in the near future, we will have this referendum and I am sure that our people will say yes,’ said Simonyan.

On 21 June, Armenia’s Parliament held hearings on a possible referendum on Armenia applying for EU membership, initiated by four pro-Western political parties, including ruling party ally Hanrapetutyun. 

Arman Babjanyan from the Rally for the Republic Party hung the EU flag from the pulpit during the parliamentary hearing. Screengrab: official video.

During the session, Arman Yeghoyan, chair of the Standing Committee on European Integration, stated that the ruling party had been discussing the process of applying for EU candidate status, and added that there was no question as to whether joining the EU would be good for Armenia. 

‘The answer to that question is simple. It is good for small states to be a member of the EU. Small states give relatively little and receive relatively much from this structure’, said Yeghoyan. 


On Thursday, Armenia’s parliamentary speaker was asked what Russia’s reaction might be if Armenia were to join the political and economic union. 

Simonyan responded that one ‘should be a good partner, should protect your allies, and should be frank with your partner — even if this partner is small’. 

Posting on X, Simonyan shared a photograph of an EU flag he was given by Latvia’s parliamentary speaker, with the caption: ‘Still a lot to go, but dreams usually come true.’

Eurasian Economic Union and EU are ‘incompatible’

Simonyan first announced Armenia’s aspirations for EU membership at the end of February. 

‘We are ready and will move in the direction that will provide us with maximum security,’ said Simonyan. 

In mid-May, the European Parliament passed a resolution supporting Armenia’s prospective application for EU membership.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the resolution, saying that it ‘should become a subject of public discussion […] because such messages need a much wider response than at the level of just the government or the parliamentary majority’. 

Latvia’s Parliamentary Speaker, Daiga Mieriņa, on Thursday connected Armenia’s move towards the EU with ‘why it wants to leave the CSTO led by Russia’. 

‘Armenia also informed us that the Russian military is gradually leaving the country’, said Mierina. 

Armenia is part of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union.

Despite increasingly tense relations with the security block, with Pashinyan stating that Armenia would leave, having frozen its membership, Armenia has deep economic ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.  

[Read more: Russia slams Armenia for cutting contributions to CSTO]

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk stated on Tuesday that membership of the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union were ‘incompatible’, noting that Armenia’s political direction was increasingly towards the West. 

‘The benefits that a country receives from proximity to Russia must also be perceived as the price we pay for our security and strategic depth,’ said Overchuk, warning that the entry of ‘extra-regional players’ to the Caucasus would have ‘consequences’.

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
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