The EU-Armenia Partnership Council, met for the fifth time in Brussels in February 2024. The meeting, chaired by a EU High Representative, took place between the DG-NEAR’s (Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiation) General Director and an official delegation of the Republic of Armenia led by the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The meeting confirmed the commitment between the EU and Armenia to strengthen and deepen their relations based on common values, it also saw the launch of a new EU-Armenia partnership agenda and reviewed the implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership (CEPA).

It is important to highlight that the resulting European Council Progress Report, in the context of the impact of EU projects supporting the digital sector in Armenia and the Eastern Partnership region, mentions the EU4Digital programme and the benefits it has brought to Armenia, supporting telecommunications, e-signature, e-commerce, e- skills and innovation. The report also goes on to recognise how the EaPConnect project in particular, under the EU4Digital umbrella, has enabled to connect more than 52 Armenian research and education institutions to the EU and also states that Armenia will further benefit from upcoming new programmes.

From the report:
“In the digital sector, the EU continues to provide support through number of project and programme such as EU4Business and EU4Digital. Armenia benefitted from support in telecommunications, e-signature, e-commerce, e-skills, innovation, as well as through the EaP Connect Programme, connecting more than 52 Armenian research and education institutions to the EU. Armenia will also benefit from upcoming programmes under EU4Digital umbrella: a Broadband Project Preparation Facility in cooperation with World Bank and EU4Innovation East supporting start-ups”.

Thanks to the EC’s backing through the EaPConnect project, Armenia seamlessly integrates its national research and education network, ASNET-AM, with the pan-European GÉANT network, including vital services such as eduroam, guaranteeing high-speed connectivity. This integration, which includes connecting major universities and research institutions, not only narrows the digital divide, but also enriches global collaboration prospects for the Armenian R&D community.

Hrachya Astsatryan, Director, ASNET-AM (National Research and Education Network of Armenia)

Many of today’s challenges, such as climate change or environmental disasters, require global collaboration to tackle their specific local impact. Like many countries, those in the Eastern Partnership region also face challenges such as security of digital information, the provision of quality healthcare, the preservation of cultural heritage and ensuring that all members of society can participate in the digital economy. Research and Education are vital to combat these challenges and help to create jobs. However, brain drain of talent from EaP countries undermines their ability to find their own solutions and to contribute their expertise to global collaborations. EaPConnect integrates EaP research and education communities into the global information society to enhance the benefits of mutually advantageous collaboration and to identify and deliver local solutions.

Irina Matthews, EaPConnect Project Manager, GÉANT