Following the signature of a memorandum of co-operation between the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) today, S&D president Gianni Pittella MEP said:
"The signature of this memorandum with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation clearly shows that the S&D Group has the political will and the drive to continue establishing closer links with sister parties from countries in the EU's neighbourhood.
"I trust that this co-operation, together with the admission of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation as an observer member with the Party of European Socialists (PES), will help to strengthen your opportunities in the upcoming parliamentary elections next year.
"But I trust above all that we can contribute to consolidating the social-democratic family in Europe, as a credible political alternative and antidote to nationalism, extremism, populism and other trends that weaken democracy. A free, independent, united and – let me add to your motto – a progressive Armenia."
S&D vice-chair for foreign affairs, neighbourhood policy and enlargement, Knut Fleckenstein MEP, said:
"We will support the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in this task by exchanging ideas and best practices, and through frank and direct exchange and regular contact, as well as with training opportunities for young people.
"Armenia deserves to benefit from both its membership of the Eurasian Economic Union and the closest relations with the European Union. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has its place within the European social-democratic family.
"We expect the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to clearly commit to and push for – from within the government – a truly independent anti-corruption agency to be set up, with sufficient authority to rigorously investigate corruption crimes.
"The Armenian Revolutionary Federation should also insist on the adoption of standalone anti-discrimination legislation in line with international standards. It should define categories of discrimination, offer protection mechanisms and establish a specialised body for enforcement.
"Now, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, as part of the government, should commit to securing the remaining funding from the budget for the 2017 parliamentary elections to make this election the most fair and transparent possible."