Strengthening the capacity of the National Assembly of Armenia to further support CEPA oversight and implementation

Closing Event

On 29 November 2022 the Closing event of the EU Twinning Project took place in Yerevan, marking two years of project implementation by the Hellenic and Italian Parliaments. H.E. Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Mr. Vahan Naribekyan, Secretary General – Chief of Staff of the National Assembly of Armenia, Mr Arman Yeghoyan, Chair of the European Integration Standing Committe of the National Assembly of Armenia, the members of the Hellenic Parliament Mr Periklis Mantas, Mr Anastasios Bartzokas & Mr Konstantinos Zachariadis , the member of the Italian House of Representatives and President of the Italian-Armenia Friendship Group, Mr Giulio Centemero, as well as the Ambassadors of Greece, Italy and the EU in Armenia, Mr Evangelos Tournakis, Mr Alfonso di Riso, members of the NA Ms Sona Ghazaryan & Mr Arsen Torosyan and Project Manager Ms Irina Movsesyan reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives of the programme and to strengthening EU-Armenia cooperation in support of democratic institutions.

For the past two years, experts from the Hellenic and Italian parliaments worked together with the Armenian National Assembly colleagues towards improving the capacity of the National Assembly to advance CEPA-related legislation and policies in an inclusive and evidence-based manner, while at the same time increasing awareness of the impacts and benefits of CEPA.

The Project Team presented the outcomes and results achieved and the results of the two Components of the project were presented by the project implementation team and in particular by Eleni Kanellopoulou (Project Leader), Dr. Vasileios Svolopoulos (Deputy Project Leader), Nektarios Kyriakou (Resident Twinning Advisor), Mari Manukyan (Project Leader-Parliament of Armenia), Giovanni Rizzoni (Junior Project Leader-Italian House of Representatives) and Marta Sandoyan (Component 1 Counterpart Leader — Parliament of Armenia).

As part of the implementation of the first component of the Project (Component 1) the goal was to improve the structures, procedures and tools of the Armenian Parliament, Mr. Svolopoulos presented the methodology followed, which included the preparation of benchmarking, the development of key performance indicators (KPIs) and the use of IPU self-assessment indicators. Proposals for better planning of legislation and cooperation with the government, improvement of parliamentary control and representation procedures, the creation of a special programme management service, the development of training and education programmes, the strengthening of the State Budget Office in Parliament, the development of a strategic operational plan for the implementation of the proposals were also presented.   

Ms. Kanellopoulou pointed out that under the second component of the Programme (Component 2) to improve the effectiveness of the CEPA-related legislative process, training seminars were organised through which good drafting practices were presented (accompanying documents, table of correspondence between national and EU provisions, consultation via ECPRD, organisation of public hearings).  Component 2 includes the development of a manual with concrete steps for the proper drafting of bills, the use of which will enhance overall legislative work. MS Kanellopoulou attached particular importance to the synergies she created the project with the academic community and other Twinning programmes. 

Mr Kyriakou referred to the facts and data on the implementation of the project, as well evaluation of the actions by the participants results. In total, during the two-year duration of the programme, 24 missions took place with the participation of 53 experts, as well as 6 Armenian study visits to the Greek and Italian Parliaments and 1 internship.

In particular, in order to achieve the objectives of the project, meetings, presentations, seminars and educational workshops and other publicity actions, such as open events and online information, were organised. There was a great response from the Armenian Parliament and participants had the opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and views with project experts on good parliamentary practices and the approximation of national legislation to the european Acquis.

At the end of the event, a round-table discussion titled ‘The Role of the Parliament in deepening democracy: facts and challenges’ was held.

On-site November mission

During the on-site missions on 8 November 2022, a group of Experts from the Hellenic Parliament held a meeting and workshop for the staff of the National Assembly of Armenia. The main topics were focused on the improved forward planning of parliamentary work as well as NA’s institutional development with a focus on CEPA implementation and offering best practices. Several cases from the Hellenic Parliament were presented from the areas of Financial Administration, Procurement Administration and Technical and Equipment Services. The presentations were held by Ms. Terpsichori Manou, Head of the Directorate for Financial Services, Mr. Panagiotis Polychronopoulos, Head of the Directorate for Technical Services and Mr. Ilias Chatzithomas, former Head of the Directorate for Procurement and Equipment Management. The NA staff participants discussed several conceptualization topics in the Armenian context in a fruitful dialogue.

“The Role of Parliamentary Bodies for the Efficiency of Parliamentary Work Organization”

On September 28, a workshop on the topic “The Role of Parliamentary Bodies for the Efficiency of Parliamentary Work Organization” was organized for the staff of the National Assembly, experts of the standing committees and MP assistants.

Mrs. Antigoni Perifanou, General Director of Parliamentary Work of the Hellenic Parliament, presented the structure and functions of the Hellenic Parliament, emphasizing that serious achievements and successes can be attained through cooperation.

During the workshop, the Director of the Office of the A’ Vice President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Emmanouil Chatzakis, referred to the rights and functions of the vice presidents of the parliament, as well as dwelled upon the role and working procedures of the Committee on European Affairs.

The experts of the Greek parliament answered the questions of the employees of the National Assembly, discussed the role of the parliamentary bodies of the two countries, highlighted the similarities and differences in the structure and functions of the respective parliaments.

High level administration meetings

On September 26th 2022, RA Chief of Staff Secretary General of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia mr. Vahan Naribekyan met with the Director-General of Legislative Operation, Mrs. Antigoni Perifanou and Director-General for Finance and Administrative Support of the Hellenic Parliament, Mrs. Zoe Chondrogianni, as well as experts and MS administrators of the Programme, in the presence of BC Project Leader Mrs. Mari Manukyan. The discussion focused on matters within their competence and expertise. They also underlined the fruitful cooperation between the two MS Parliaments and the NA within Project’s scope, as well as the successful course of the program so far, while the planning is progressing towards its completion.

Academic roundtable in collaboration with the Jean Monnet Module “Legal Approximation Laboratory”.

On 14 July 2022, in collaboration with the Jean Monnet Module “Legal Approximation Laboratory”, Brusov State University, an academic roundtable with internationally recognized scholars of ​Law and Political Science on was organized.

The aim of the roundtable was to discuss the most recent developments in theory and practice of the Rule of Law implementation in the EU and Eastern Partnership and to build a dialogue between the National Assembly and the academic community.

The key topic was Legal Approximation with EU value-based acquis: Implementation of the EU-Armenia CEPA in part of the Rule of Law (European experience and the role of parliaments).

Dr. Anna Khvorostiankina, Coordinator of the Jean Monnet Module “Legal Approximation Laboratory” introduced the concept of the Rule of Law and presented its history and role in the context of EU-Armenia relations.

Vassilis Hatzopoulos, Professor at the Pantheon University of Athens, spoke about the supremacy of law in the EU, and the fundamental values ​​of the European legal system.

Professor Kopalyan from the University of Nevada, USA underlined the importance of judicial reforms and transitional justice in Armenia.

Professor Antonia Baraggia from the University of Milan addressed the crisis of Rule of Law, presenting the examples of Poland and Hungary, while Dr. Mihai-Razvan Corman presented the supremacy of law in relations between associations and candidates, using the experience of Moldova as an example.

Component 2 Sub-Result 2.3 “Improved capacity of NA bodies to advance CEPA-related commitments under EaP “Stronger economy” set of priorities” Workshop

A workshop within Component 2 Sub-Result 2.3 “Improved capacity of NA bodies to advance CEPA-related commitments under EaP “Stronger economy” set of priorities”, dedicated to the discussion of the economic chapter in the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between Armenia and the European Union was held on May 18, 2022. The Acting Head of the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Greek Embassy to Armenia Ms. Alexandra Rouva highlighted the increase in trade between the RA and the EU as a result of entering into force of the CEPA.The European Experts presented the EU directives referred to the regulation of trade discounts in general and in the standing committees, as well as the Greek and Italian experience in the sphere of regulating the market of products and services.

Project’s workshop for representation

A workshop titled “The Representation: Parliamentary Diplomacy and a Series of Communication Tools: An open National Assembly to the Public and the Youth” was held on May 12th within the scope of the Component 1 mission with the participation of the NA staff, and Experts from the Hellenic and Italian Parliaments.

During the workshop, Ms. Maria Kamilaki, the Director of the Library of the Hellenic Parliament, gave a speech on the topic “The Hellenic Parliament Library: from outreach to citizen engagement towards SDG implementation”, and Mr. Giancarlo Romanello, the Head of the Unit for Educational Projects at the Italian Parliament, presented the educational projects of the Chamber of Deputies.Dr. Vasilios Svolopoulos elaborated on the topic of “Parliamentary diplomacy in the European projects”, and Mr. Georgios Angelopoulos, the General Director of the General Directorate for Electronic Administration, Library and Publications of the Hellenic Parliament introduced the case of the HeP on the use of ICT tools for an open Parliament.

At the end of the workshop, the foreign Experts had an opportunity to learn about the library of the National Assembly of Armenia and the organization of study visits at the National Assembly.

Parliamentary oversight practices and legislative drafting missions

During the C1 and C2 on-site missions of the Twinning Project (9-11 March 2022), a group of experts from the Greek and Italian parliaments held seminars and workshop for the staff of the RA National Assembly. The main topics of the seminars were focused on the parliamentary oversight practices and legislative drafting particularly related to the CEPA and EU acquis framework. The interactive workshop was aimed at the process of elaboration and control of CEPA-related bills targeting MPs, MPs’ assistants, and staff of the NA Committees.

Project’s January Missions update

During the Twinning Project’s ongoing on-site missions to the National Assembly of Armenia since 24 January 2022, the MS Project Leader Ms. Eleni Kanellopoulou and the team of experts from the Hellenic Parliament met with the Chairman of the Standing Committee on European Integration Mr. Arman Yeghoyan, the Chief of Staff-Secretary General of the National Assembly Mr. Vahan Naribekyan and BC Project Leader Ms. Mari Manukyan. The aim of the meeting was to introduce the model of the European Programs Implementation Service of the HeP.

As scheduled, the Experts had meetings with the Heads of the NA staff subdivisions, discussed the possibilities of cooperation, exchange of experience in the spheres of mutual interest, and presented the 200-year-old parliamentary experience of Greece. The topics on staff training, mechanisms for reform of legislative procedures, parliamentary-government relations in EU member states, the procedure for holding parliamentary hearings that were presented to the Armenian colleagues were followed by fruitful discussions and Q&A.

The Greek Experts also visited the RA Public Administration Academy that is a training institution for public servants and met with the rector Khachatur Ghazeyan, Head of the Center for International Cooperation and Development Teresa Khechoyan, Head of the Center for Supplementary and Continuing Education Artak Baghdasaryan, and Head of the Quality Assurance Center Gayane Hovhannisyan. Opportunities for joint program development and cooperation were discussed.

Public Awareness Event was held on Wednesday, 1st of December 2021.

The Public Awareness Event of the European Union’s Twinning Project “Strengthening the capacity of the National Assembly of Armenia to further support CEPA oversight and implementation” was held in a hybrid mode on Wednesday, 1st of December 2021.To open the Event, Vice President of the RA National Assembly Mr. Ruben Rubinyan, Chair of the Standing Committee on European Integration Mr. Arman Yeghoyan, Chief of Staff-Secretary General Mr. Vahan Naribekyan, was joined by the Head of European Union Delegation to Armenia Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, the Head of the Delegation of the Hellenic Parliament Mr. Dimitrios Markopoulos, Chairman of the Greece-Armenia Friendship Group and Mr. Giulio Centemero, Head of the Italy-Armenia Friendship Group of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

The members of the Project Team and the Political Coordinator, Special Secretary of the Hellenic Parliament Mr. Vasileios Bagiokos presented aspects of the Project.The thematic speech on “Legal Approximation in Armenia: Challenges and Perspectives” was delivered by Dr. Anna Khvorostiankina, Academic Coordinator of Legal Approximation Laboratory, Brusov State University, Armenia.

A Panel Discussion on issues from the main and thematic speeches was held between Mr. Arman Yeghoyan, MP National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Chair of the Standing Committee on European Integration, Mr. Ioannis – Michail Loverdos, MP Hellenic Parliament, Member of the Committees on European Affairs and Public Administration, Public Order and Justice, Mr. Lazaros Tsavdaridis, MP Hellenic Parliament, Member of the Committees on European Affairs and Economic Affairs, Mr. Dimitrios Markopoulos, MP Hellenic Parliament, Chairman of the Greece-Armenia Friendship Group and Mr. Giulio Centemero, MP Italian Chamber of Deputies, Chairman of Italy-Armenia Friendship Group – via ZoomThe Panel was coordinated by Mr. Emilio Cricchio, Journalist/Reporter, CivilNet News.

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«Այս կայքը ստեղծվել և պահպանվում է Եվրոպական միության ֆինանսական աջակցությամբ: Բովանդակության համար պատասխանատվություն է կրում «Հայաստանի Ազգային ժողովի կարողությունների ուժեղացում՝ ՀԸԳՀ վերահսկողության և իրականացման հետագա աջակցության նպատակով» ծրագիրը և պարտադիր չէ, որ այն արտահայտի Եվրոպական միության տեսակետները»