EU loses Armenia to Russia’s Customs Union

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Armenia will join a customs union led by Russia.

The announcement came after the Armenian president held talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. As Moscow is trying to bring closer together former soviet countries, Putin welcomed Armenia’s decision as a diplomatic victory.
But the European Union appeared to be taken by surprise. EU officials have said in the past that  membership of the Customs Union is incompatible with a free trade agreement with the EU.

‘We are seeking further clarification from the Arminian side, and then we will be able to assess the implications.
As the European Union we are firmly committed to the Eastern Partnership and we hope it’s the same for our partners,’ said EU’s spokesperson Maja Kocijancic.

Armenia was expected to start discussion on a possible free trade agreement with Brussels during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius next November.

Russia is by far Armenia’s largest trading partner and the largest foreign investor.

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