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The DSCA delegation (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)

The European Parliament created a "Delegation for relations with the countries of South Caucasus" - the original DSCA delegation - in 1994 to focus on relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, a mere three years years after these countries regained their independence.

In the more than two decades that have passed since, the DSCA Delegation has remained the Parliament's only political body working with elected representatives from the three countries of the South Caucasus.

Relations with the EU

In the early 1990s, the EU negotiated international agreements with all three South Caucasus countries.

These "Partnership and Cooperation Agreements" were signed in 1996 and ratified in 1999. All three agreements contain an article stating:

"A Parliamentary Cooperation Committee is hereby established. It shall be a forum for Members of the [partner's parliament] and the European Parliament to meet and exchange views."

This meant that the members of the European Parliament's delegation focusing on the South Caucasus met their counterparts in a formal structure - a Parliamentary Cooperation Committee - rather than in ad hoc inter-parliamentary meetings.

Divergent paths

All three countries were included in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood policy (which also covered Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine). The EU began to negotiate new agreements, called "Association Agreements", with Armenia and Georgia. These agreements normally include a free trade area, and usually go into effect along with more relaxed rules on visas.

Over the next years, the paths of the three countries diverged, however.

  • In the case of Azerbaijan, negotiations on an Association Agreement never advanced. Because the country is not a member of the World Trade Organisation, it was also not possible to create an EU-Azerbaijan deep and comprehensive free trade area.
    Since February 2017, however, Azerbaijan and the EU are progressing well on the negotiations on a new, enhanced partnership agreement.

  • Armenia, on the other hand, did negotiate an Association Agreement with the EU over the course of three years. After an aborted attempt to sign an Association Agreement, due to the former Armenian government's decision to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in late 2013, the EIU and Armenia initialled negotiations on a new Enhanced and Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in February 2017. The CEPA was signed on the sidelines of the November 2017 Eastern Partnership Summit, held in Brussels. This new agreement which incorporates large sectors of the Association Agreement that had been previously negotiated previously, is also compatible with Armenia's membership of the Eurasian Economic Union. Under the CEPA, the existing EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee has been replaced by a Parliamentary Partnership Committee, with extended powers.

  • The third South Caucasus country, Georgia, was the only one to sign its Association Agreement. The EU-Georgia agreement entered into force in July 2016.
    Because Association Agreements bring their signatories even, the form of parliamentary meetings has also been modified: the former EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee was replaced by a EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee.

Committee meetings

The EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee is expected to meet twice a year, while the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Partnership Committee may meet once or twice a year. The EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee meets normally once per year.