On 15 October 2014, the European Parliament Nagorno-Karabakh Group was presented with the assistance of European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA), aiming to support civil society and democratic governance, as well as European values within Nagorno-Karabakh. Following the French and Lithuanian parliaments that have already established similar groups, members of the European Parliament are creating the first international group, spanning over national borders.
Several Members of the European Parliament have committed to the group’s membership, with MEP Frank Engel from the EPP Group heading it.
With nationally diverse members from various European political families, the Nagorno-Karabakh Group will facilitate contacts between EU officials and CSOs with representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh at all levels, including civil society and will also promote study visits to the region. The informal group is also concerned with Nagorno-Karabakh’s representation and presence for NK in international forums and EU programs.
The European Parliament has stated that the EU, through complementary confidence building measures, can support the Minsk Group’s efforts to solve the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh and the group will contribute to these endeavors.
“This group is an organ that brings together people who have an interest in the region, have a certain knowledge about the region or want to require it and who put themselves at the disposal of the people of Karabakh,” explains Mr Engel.
“We want to create awareness towards an unrecognized piece of territory, which, at the end of the day, is a Democratic Republic and behaves like that.”
Mr Engel also adds “European Friends of Armenia has been and remains instrumental in putting Karabakh on the European agenda. Being able to rely on European Friends of Armenia’s expertise and experience for all practical purposes of maintaining communication and interaction with the authorities of Nagorno Karabakh has been of vital importance for the group.”
This project is welcomed by Nagorno-Karabakh representatives and calls for closer relations between the two governing bodies.
“It is the natural outcome and somehow the implementation of the different EU institutions’ official documents adopted, encouraging EU officials to access Nagorno-Karabakh and meeting their representatives at all levels”, explains EuFoA Director Mr Lorenzo Ochoa.