Speech delivered by Daniel Ioannisyan at parliamentary hearing dedicated to prospects of Armenia’s European integration

Speech delivered by Programs Coordinator at Union of Informed Citizens NGO Daniel Ioannisyan at parliamentary hearing dedicated to prospects of Armenia’s European integration․

«Mr. Yeghoyan, Your Excellency Mr. Maragos, dear colleagues,

First of all, I would like to thank you for initiating this parliamentary hearing. It is a very important format, which the parliament of this convocation does not seem to like very much.

You know, I represent an organization that was created 10 years ago against the background of the turn in Armenia’s foreign policy line. Yes, today is the birthday of Union of Informed Citizens NGO, we are 10 years old. And it is very symbolic that after 10 years, Armenia begins to return to the path from which it diverged during those days of national disgrace.

…Disgrace we yielded to only because we hoped that if we made the concession to Russia, the latter would protect Artsakh and Armenia. At that time, the Armenian society still did not understand that the more you become dependent on a state like Russia, the more it gets the opportunity to betray you.

But it is already history, and also an important lesson for us that we need allies and not saviors.

And we have to keep this in our minds. EU integration is a path of good and bright opportunities. But gold or honey will not pour on our heads, and European armies will not stand on our borders.

The European Union will give us the opportunity to develop by working hard. …Develop the economy, develop human capital, human rights and security. They will help, but we have to do it through our hard work.

Will the EU help us, for instance, to ensure that our food producers improve the quality of food safety? Yes, it will. But will the EU accept the food we produce if our producers make no effort to change? The answer is No.

Will the EU help us reform the police? Yes, it does. But can we integrate into the EU if beating people is encouraged in our police? Of course not.

This is, in a way, similar to admission to a university. Getting into a good university is difficult. You have to prepare, study, develop, and then study hard for years at the university… But that is the path leading to great success in life. You may decide not to take pains, and may graduate from a vocational training center, and somehow make both ends meet. It is also a path. The path of Belarus is also a path.

You know, there is a lot of talk here about fears from Russia. Yes, Russia and Iran are not happy with Armenia’s European integration. But this is our way, which must be respected.

Most likely, Russia will try to punish us for becoming independent from it. But almost all the calamities that Russia could bring upon us have already happened. There is no Artsakh anymore, Russia has been provoking Azerbaijan to attack Armenia in every possible way for already two years. What else can they do?

Fortunately, the evil called Russia does not have the power and influence it once had. The Russia that existed before February 2022 does not exist anymore. Russia’s teeth have been broken. They have been broken by Ukraine, which means that they cannot do the damage they could do before.

Yes, they may increase the price of gas. Yes, they may ban our food imports. And these risks need to be addressed. Armenia’s energy diversification is a very serious issue, which is clearly beyond the capacities of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure and the Public Services Regulatory Commission, and it is worth organizing another hearing on that issue.

As for food safety, the government should tighten control over food safety as soon as possible and, yes, go for painful solutions. Today, before it is too late, the quality of food safety must be enhanced through strict administration. We need it in the first place because we are the main consumers of that food, but it is also essential for the producers so that they can easily turn to the European markets after Russia bans imports.

Thank you for your attention».

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