France’s Plans As EU Chair State

Nana Petrosian

AZG Armenian Daily


Two countries a yesr chair the EU. The second half of 2008 France
will be chauring the organization. Yesterday, on the occasion of the
coming chairmanship, Ambassador of France to Armenia George Smessov and
Eurocomission Coordinator in Armenia Raul de Lutzenberger organized
a press conference in Yerevan. They represented the four priorities
of EU policy in this region: nature protection and power engineering,
emigration issues, EU security, agriculture development.

The Ambassador assured that France wants the EU to serve the rest of
the world as an example of ecologically safe power engineering. He
assured that the EU shall enhance its cooperation with Russia in
this field.

The EU is elaborating a global emigration policy, which will include
active cooperation with countries from which illegal immigrants come
to Europe. According to the French side, the European agreement on
emigration and asylum, to be adopted by the EU in the nearest future,
shall document all the commitments on this issue.

Mr. Smessov emphasized ensuring the security of the EU and facing
all the challenges with its own forces, without diminishing the NATO
functions. He said he would advice Brussels to revise and to increase
the EU security and defense budget.

The Ambassador said that France shall never restrict itself with
the aforementioned programs and shall continue its activities on
Lisbon Agreement, on extending the cooperation of the Mediterranean
states and facing different challenges and emergencies around the
world. France shall also enhance its contacts with Eastern Europe.

Answering the reporters’ questions George Smessov said that both
as member of OSCE Minks Group and as EU chair country, France
remains confident that warlike statements can by no means benefit
the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Regarding Turkey’s possible
membership in the EU the French diplomat said that the negotiations
with Turkey will be continued, but it is too soon to speak of any

Being asked about France’s position on PACE Resolution 1620 and if
France will support sanctions against Armenia if any are taken,
the Ambassador first noted that it was not the aim of the press
conference to focus on that matters. Secondly he said that the issue is
something for the whole organization to decide, and not the chairing
state. Mr. Smessov assured that France is advocating the dialogue
between any political powers.

Raul de Lutzenberger in his turn assured that failure to accomplish
the 1620 Resolution’s requirements cannot result in suspension
of cooperation with Armenia in the frameworks of the New European
Neighborhood program.

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