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BLOG, Replies to campaigns from citizens

Citizens’ enquiries on the EP position on armed hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan

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Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages calling on the Parliament to condemn the hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in September 2020, when violent clashes between both countries resumed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. In October, citizens renewed their call in reaction to the strikes on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja, and more broadly in view of the escalation of the conflict.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English, German and Italian).

Main points made in the reply in English

The European Parliament and the Head of EU diplomacy, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell held a plenary debate on the European Union reactions to the renewed escalation in violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on 7 October 2020.You can watch the video recording of the debate on the Multimedia Website (starting from 9:16:30 minutes).

In his statement, HR/VP Josep Borrell indicated that the current military confrontation along the line of contact in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone was of utmost concern for the EU. He also said: ‘Our position is clear: the fighting must stop. Both sides need to re-engage in meaningful negotiations (..). There can be no military solution to the conflict, nor external interference. This position was reinforced by the European Council held on the 1st and 2nd of October’.

Leading Members of the European Parliament have issued a joint statement on the military clashes in which they express great concern about the renewed escalation of violence on the line of contact and call on the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan to observe the ceasefire strictly.

The European Union has welcomed the humanitarian ceasefire agreement reached on 10 October between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HR/VP Josep Borrell deplored the strikes on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja resulting in civilian loss of life and serious injury.

HR/VP Josep Borrell has contacted the ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan and stressed the necessity to fully respect the agreed ceasefire without delay and to stop targeting of civilians. He confirmed that the EU remained ready to support the parties in a long-term solution to the conflict and will continue to monitor the situation.

The European Parliament has also held debates and adopted resolutions on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region in previous years.

In a 2018 recommendation on the negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement, Parliament recommended, ‘to ensure that high priority is given to dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to enhanced EU participation in peacefully solving the Nagorno-Karabakh’.

In addition, Members of the European Parliament have addressed parliamentary questions on various issues concerning the situation in the region to the European Commission. In an answer of 31 August 2020 to a parliamentary question regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, HR/VP Josep Borrell indicated on behalf of the European Commission: ‘The EU has urged both sides to stop the armed confrontation, refrain from action and rhetoric that provoke tension, and undertake immediate measures to prevent further escalation. (..) both sides should make use of their mechanism for direct communication. (..) The EU has encouraged all regional actors to support efforts toward de-escalation’.

Furthermore, we would like to draw your attention also to the efforts made by the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, the homepage of which also contains numerous communications from the delegation and its chairs on recent developments in these countries.

Main points made in the reply in German

Das Plenum des Europäischen Parlaments und der Hohe Vertreter der Union und Vizepräsident der Kommission Josep Borrell debattierten am 7. Oktober 2020 über den Umgang der Europäischen Union mit der erneuten Eskalation des gewaltsamen Konflikts zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan um die umstrittene Region Bergkarabach. Die Videoaufzeichnung der Debatte finden Sie auf der Multimedia-Website des Parlaments (ab Minute 09:16:30).

In seiner Erklärung wies Josep Borrell darauf hin, dass die militärischen Auseinandersetzungen an der Kontaktlinie im Konfliktgebiet Bergkarabach der EU große Sorge bereiten. Er ließ auch wissen: „Unser Standpunkt ist klar: Die Kämpfe müssen aufhören. Beide Seiten müssen sich wieder an sinnvollen Verhandlungen beteiligen […]. Der Konflikt kann weder militärisch noch durch Einflussnahme von außen gelöst werden. Der Europäische Rat bestätigte diesen Standpunkt auf seiner Tagung vom 1. und 2. Oktober.“

In einer gemeinsamen Erklärung zu den militärischen Auseinandersetzungen äußern hochrangige Mitglieder des Europäischen Parlaments ihre große Besorgnis über die erneute Eskalation der Gewalt an der Kontaktlinie. Sie fordern Armenien und Aserbaidschan auf, die Waffenruhe strikt einzuhalten.

Zur Lage in Bergkarabach hat das Europäische Parlament auch in den vergangenen Jahren bereits Debatten geführt und Entschließungen angenommen.

In einer Empfehlung aus dem Jahr 2018 zu den Verhandlungen über das umfassende Abkommen zwischen der EU und Aserbaidschan trat das Parlament dafür ein, „dem Dialog zwischen Aserbaidschan und Armenien und der stärkeren Mitwirkung der EU an der friedlichen Beilegung des Konflikts um Bergkarabach […] oberste Priorität“ einzuräumen.

Darüber hinaus haben Mitglieder des Europäischen Parlaments parlamentarische Anfragen zu verschiedenen Aspekten der Lage in der Region an die Europäische Kommission gerichtet. In seiner Antwort vom 31. August 2020 auf eine parlamentarische Anfrage zum Konflikt zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan um Bergkarabach erklärte Josep Borrell im Namen der Europäischen Kommission: „Die EU hat beide Seiten nachdrücklich aufgefordert, die bewaffnete Auseinandersetzung zu beenden, von Handlungen und Worten abzusehen, die weitere Spannungen hervorrufen können, und umgehend Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, damit die Lage nicht weiter eskaliert.“ Beide Seiten sollten außerdem direkten Kontakt miteinander aufnehmen, und die EU habe „alle regionalen Akteure ermuntert, die Bemühungen um eine Deeskalation zu unterstützen.“

Hinweisen möchten wir Sie auch auf die Bemühungen der Delegation des Europäischen Parlaments für die Beziehungen zum Südkaukasus. Auf ihrer Website finden Sie zahlreiche Mitteilungen der Delegation und ihrer Vorsitzenden zu den aktuellsten Entwicklungen in den betroffenen Ländern.

Main points made in the reply in Italian

Il 7 ottobre 2020 il Parlamento europeo e l’Alto rappresentante/Vicepresidente Josep Borrell hanno tenuto un dibattito in plenaria sulle reazioni dell’Unione europea alla nuova escalation di violenza tra Armenia e Azerbaigian nella regione contesa del Nagorno-Karabakh. È possibile guardare la videoregistrazione del dibattito sul sito Multimedia Centre del Parlamento (a partire dal munito 9:16:30).

Nella sua dichiarazione, Josep Borrell ha affermato che l’attuale scontro militare lungo la linea di contatto nella zona di conflitto del Nagorno Karabakh è causa di profonda preoccupazione per l’UE. Ha inoltre aggiunto: “La nostra posizione è chiara: i combattimenti devono fermarsi. Entrambe le parti devono riprendere negoziati significativi (…). Non ci può essere alcuna soluzione militare al conflitto né alcuna interferenza esterna. Questa posizione è stata rafforzata dal Consiglio europeo del 1° e del 2 ottobre”.

Alcuni deputati di spicco al Parlamento europeo hanno rilasciato una dichiarazione congiunta sugli scontri armati, in cui esprimono grande preoccupazione per la rinnovata escalation di violenza sulla linea di contatto e invitano le autorità di Armenia e Azerbaigian a rispettare rigorosamente il cessate il fuoco.

Negli anni scorsi il Parlamento europeo ha inoltre tenuto dibattiti e approvato risoluzioni sulla situazione nella regione del Nagorno-Karabakh.

In una raccomandazione del 2018 sui negoziati relativi all’accordo globale tra l’UE e l’Azerbaigian, il Parlamento ha raccomandato “di garantire che sia attribuita un’elevata priorità al dialogo tra l’Azerbaigian e l’Armenia e alla partecipazione rafforzata dell’UE alla risoluzione pacifica del conflitto del Nagorno-Karabakh”.

I deputati al Parlamento europeo hanno inoltre rivolto alla Commissione europea interrogazioni parlamentari riguardanti varie questioni relative alla situazione nella regione. Nella risposta del 31 agosto 2020 a un’interrogazione parlamentare sul conflitto tra l’Armenia e l’Azerbaigian nel Nagorno-Karabakh, l’Alto rappresentante/Vicepresidente Josep Borrell ha dichiarato a nome della Commissione europea: “L’UE ha esortato entrambe le parti a porre fine allo scontro armato, ad astenersi da azioni o retorica che provochino tensione e ad adottare misure immediate per evitare un’ulteriore escalation. (…) entrambe le parti dovrebbero utilizzare il meccanismo di comunicazione diretta. (…) L’UE invita tutti gli attori della regione a sostenere gli sforzi a favore della distensione”.

Inoltre, desideriamo richiamare la Sua attenzione anche sugli sforzi realizzati dalla delegazione per le relazioni con il Caucaso meridionale del Parlamento europeo, la cui pagina iniziale contiene anche numerose comunicazioni elaborate dalla delegazione e dai suoi presidenti sui recenti sviluppi nei paesi interessati.

About Ask EP

The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.

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