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October 20, 2009

On 20 October the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) L. Donskis met the Member of the Armenian Parliament, the Chair of the Heritage political group, Styopa Safaryan in Strasbourg.

The guest was interested in the MEP L. Donskis`, who works in the South Caucasus delegation, opinion on the Armenian progress in the European integration process. He wanted to discuss possible country`s development scenarios, to hear advices and to present the recent political news from this Caucasus country to the MEP. 

The meeting was mostly focussed on the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement. The guest has mentioned that the Armenians themselves are not sure about whether they should understand the ongoing process as the beginning of the real reconciliation, normalization of relations or only as renewal of relations.

Rapprochement of two neighbour states raises concerns in the Armenian society, because there are worries that Turkey is only imitating this process, focuses more on the form and not on the substance. However, the guest has agreed that this process encourages countries to rethink their policies in all areas.

When asked what threats he sees in the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement, L. Donskis said that Russia could angrily respond to the improvement of relations between neighbours and that Azerbaijan`s posture towards the big neighbour will not improve the situation. As obstacles for reconciliation the MEP has also named pro-Russian sentiments of the Armenian emigrants and the refusal of nationalists to make compromises. 

L. Donskis has reminded that there are cases in the European history that countries which were very hostile to each other have not only reconciled, but also became allies: France and Germany or in a smaller extent, Lithuania and Poland. Turkey which seeks the European Union membership wants to have good relations with neighbours and to show that it is a reliable state and partner. For Europe it is also important that the sustainable peace is achieved in Caucasus. There are enough tensions and frozen conflicts in this region and there is a need to solve them or at least not to escalate. This is why the EU support for the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement is reasonable.

It was also mentioned that the pragmatic aspect also plays a significant role: Armenia could benefit from friendly relations with a big, powerful, economically stable neighbour Turkey which also has a huge market.

The Member of the Armenian Parliament has also stated that his country is still very slow in the processes of Europeanization; there is a lack of interests in governmental institutions, of political will and preparation, but has stressed that Armenia sees its future in Europe, conscious of  the fact that it has to go a long and difficult way.

Both politicians agreed that the vision of the European future encourages both Armenia and Turkey to seek reconciliation and to improve their relations.

L. Donskis has wished that Armenians resist the historical inertia, do not destroy the promising future scenario and seek for normalisation of relations with Turkey.

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What do you think?
Which of the activities of L. Donskis at the European Parliament proved to be the most effective?
Activities in the field of human rights
Work with Eastern Partnership and post-Soviet countries
Support of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU

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