Europe Day is celebrated throughout the European Union on May 9. It symbolises unity and peace. For many years, within the framework of Europe Day, several festive events have been organised in different regions of Armenia. This year it coincided with the 30th anniversary of EU-Armenia diplomatic relations.
Several events were organised in Yerevan and the regions on these two important occasions.
On May 10, a press conference was organised. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Paruyr Hovhannisyan, and Ambassador of France to Armenia Anne Louyot ) summed up the 30-year activity and spoke about the future plans.
“We have very close and good relations with Armenia; we stand together, we support reforms and democracy in the country for the well-being of the Armenian citizens; this is our ultimate goal. Our fundament is the CEPA agreement. This is the guideline for our relationship, and I’m very proud we are closely collaborating with the Armenian government in this spirit”,-highlighted the Ambassador. The press conference was followed by a reception with a number of representatives of RA state members and civil society representatives.
Educational and cultural events were also organised within the framework of Europe Day celebrations. The most significant among them was a literary evening organised on May 11 at Zangak bookstore. The Erasmus+ students and Young European Ambassadors had a chance to discuss the experimental novel “P/F” by the first Armenian laureate of the European Union Literary Prize Aram Pachyan and ask questions to the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, and Ambassadors of the EU Member States. The EU Ambassador congratulated the writer and spoke about the EU efforts to support literature and young creators.
Official meetings and events were also organised in the north and the south parts of Armenia: Shirak and Syunik regions.
The visit to Gyumri started with a national conference dedicated to the International Day of Family. World Vision Armenia organised it in the framework of the EU-funded Family Environment and Services in Communities for Children of Armenia” (FESCCA) projects. After the conference, the Ambassador met schoolchildren participating in an eco-camp organised by the “EU4ENVIRONMENT: Green community – resilient future” project. Andrea Wiktorin had a fruitful discussion with the young people. The participants had a chance to ask questions to the Ambassador. The beautiful and symbolic conclusion of the event was the tree planting together with the Ambassadors and representatives from EU member states.
On the same day, the Ambassador met with members of the three Local Action Groups (LAGs) formed within the framework of LEAD4Shirak Project. The project aims to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and improved livelihoods of the rural population in Shirak region through piloting the EU LEADER methodology for local development. The 4,5 mln EUR project is co-financed by the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency is to
The events in Gyumri were summed up with a special reception with the members of the local governing members and the civil society representatives.
The last stop of the events dedicated to the EU-Armenia partnership’s 30th anniversary and the Europe Day 2022 was Syunik. On May 24-25, together with the Ambassadors of the Eu member states Andrea Wiktorin visited Goris. They started a trip with a new project launch: participated in the opening ceremony of the Stronger Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Syunik – Supporting Vulnerable and Displaced People (SEES) Project. With EU co-funding, Impact Hub Yerevan is opening a regional hub in Syunik with a specific focus on small businesses in the region that addresses post-war problems faced by vulnerable groups. “Our long-term vision is to contribute to strong, innovative SMEs delivering high added value, creating jobs and boosting the competitiveness and productivity of the economy, and turning Syunik into a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship,” mentioned EU Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin in her opening speech.
In Goris, the Ambassador delivered a special press briefing for the regional media. One of the highlights of thе visit to Syunik was media literacy. After the briefing, the Ambassador participated in the “Disinformation in Armenia: View from Syunik” event.
On the next day, EU Ambassador visited Goris Medical Center. Modern X-ray equipment is donated to Goris Medical Center as a part of a larger assistance package provided by the EU to help boost the COVID-19 response in Armenia. Afterward, the delegation also visited Goris Press Club, where an intensive video blogging training for young people had started. It is part of the “Media literacy Messengers in the Regions” project implemented by the Media Initiatives Center.
The visiting team also attended the regional launch event of the STRIVE for a better future: communities and civil society resilience in Armenia (STRIVE) project. The event was hosted by the Goris Women’s Resource Center, one of the regional partners of the STRIVE project implemented by the Near East Foundation Belgium.
The last meeting of the visit, full of new projects and cornerstone events, was the meeting with women – beneficiaries of the REACT: relief and early recovery for people affected by conflict in Armenia Project. Ambassador Wiktorin and the visiting team participated in a master class on cooking. Under the guidance of Chef Sedrak Mamulyan, the participants enjoyed cooking together. The DG ECHO-funded project implemented by People in Need Armenia aims to assist the economic integration of conflict-affected populations.