STRASBOURG, France (A.W.)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Socialist and Democratic Group (S&D)—the leading center-left political group in the European Parliament—signed a memorandum of understanding on July 6.
“The signature of this memorandum with the [ARF] 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 neighborhood,” said member of European Parliament and president of the S&D Group Gianni Pittella in a press statement released on the S&D’s official website.
“I trust that this co-operation, together with the admission of the [ARF] 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,” said Pittella.
S&D vice-chair for foreign affairs, neighborhood policy and enlargement, Knut Fleckenstein said that the group will support the ARF in “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 [ARF] has its place within the European social-democratic family. We expect the [ARF] 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,” he said.
Pittella also called on the ARF to 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 specialized body for enforcement,” he said, adding that as a part of the Armenian movement, the ARF should commit to securing the remaining funding from the budget for the 2017 parliamentary elections to make them as fair and transparent possible.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West