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“It is crucial for Armenia to become the best country to live in for every Armenian” - PM meets with representatives of Armenian community in Strasbourg


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On 11 April, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with representatives of the Armenian community in Strasbourg and neighboring towns as part of his working visit to Strasbourg. The meeting took place at the European Parliamentary Association Center.

Thanking those present for the warm welcome, Prime Minister Pashinyan said: “Dear Compatriots, I am very happy with our meeting. It is an imperative for me to meet our compatriots during my visits and it is very important for us today and for Armenia, because the new situation in Armenia and around Armenia creates for us a new opportunity exclusive to truly consolidate our national potential, to be able to register a new state of national unity and to join forces for the realization of our national dreams.

I would like to thank you for having responded to the invitation of today's meeting, I would also like to thank you for the fact that you, being physically far from Armenia, nevertheless, during this time you do not have not left Armenia for a moment. This is very important because if you are in Armenia with your heart, it means that being physically in Armenia is only a matter of time and technique. It is very important for us that Armenia becomes a national gathering center for Armenians and the best place to live for every citizen, every Armenian.

We imagine this as: Making the Republic of Armenia a country of opportunities for everyone to realize their abilities, their talents, their skills, so that everyone can work, earn money and do their job with pleasure. Let me say that this process has already started in the Republic of Armenia because what is important for a citizen?

In my opinion, the most important feeling for the citizen is the self-esteem in his country. And the fact that today the citizen of the Republic of Armenia is the supreme authority of the Republic of Armenia, I think that no one doubts, not only the Armenians, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia and also the entire international community.

I know, I see that most of those present are citizens of the Republic of Armenia and I would like to address to you the phrase that I always use traditionally in my meetings:

My dear people,
Proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
I love you all, I am proud of you all and I bow to you all.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan answered questions from representatives of the Armenian community. Asked whether the government had a program to promote the immigration of our compatriots living abroad, the Prime Minister noted: “From the beginning, this issue has been and remains on our agenda. There were different ideas and now there are some. For example, there was such a question about the opportunities we created and create for potential immigrants. For example, there was an idea of granting preferential loans, opportunities, etc., but a very simple question arose during these discussions.

Many Armenian citizens who are in Armenia and who need the same opportunities can ask a very logical question and say the following: we stayed here and to use these programs, what do you suggest, to go live abroad? for five years, then come back and enjoy it?

And we formulated the goal: we must simply create equal opportunities for all, because there must be a really legal state, the law should work. The people’s access to economic activity must be equal, and in general, the country should be attractive to live, it should be attractive in terms of opportunities.”
The Head of Government presented his vision of the solution of social problems, noting that the possibilities of implementing an immigration promotion program are being discussed.

“It is important for us to record that ideologically, the solution of social problems and problems in general is impossible without work. Is there a goal that can be achieved without effort? There is no such a goal, so we think we need to create opportunities for our citizens. When I speak of citizens, I speak of all Armenians because I believe that all Armenians are citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

By the way, there is a legal justification. if we open the preamble of our Constitution, where nothing has changed so far, we can see that the Armenian nation is the one to adopt the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia as the founders of the Republic of Armenia: not the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, not the people who participated in the elections, but the Armenian nation. Therefore, when I say citizen, I mean the Armenians, in general.

Recently, at the meeting held with Armenians in Vienna, an idea emerged: since we have mortgage projects - apartments for young families, apartments for young professionals – a similar program should be launched for immigrants, which means giving mortgages under specific conditions at more affordable rates. Now we, the Government and the Central Bank, are working together to implement this program.”

One of the participants in the meeting asked the Prime Minister to compare his ideas, as an opposition politician and then as Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, to whom the Prime Minister replied: “In fact, my ideas about the state of the country and the situation in a number of areas were much better than I currently see in the real world. But in general, there is a lot of discussion about how the process should go, if everything goes as planned in Armenia, as I imagined. Yes, let me tell you that everything is happening as I imagined. Our economic ideology is very clear: we say - the same formula, which we put at the heart of our political revolution, should be used as the basis of the economic revolution.

What is the formula? Encourage individual efforts, help a person to believe in his own strength so that he can engage in an economic activity, encourage the talent of our people. For example, we completed 11 agricultural projects, most of which were unprecedented.

Today, what are we saying to people? We say, dear citizen, if, for example, you are going to set up a shed in a border region, we will refund 70% of the amount you have spent, that is, any investor can get back 70% of his investment.

Many can make such an investment, but what should do those who do not have the necessary resources? We are offering them unprecedented low-cost loans of 2, 3, 5%, and we are offering this opportunity today. Today, no one in Armenia can say, “I want to get engaged in business, but I am not allowed.” I cannot rule out that there may be such cases, but they are hidden from us. If we find those who do so, we know what will happen to them.”

Speaking about the economic situation and the success of the government in the economy, Nikol Pashinyan said: “You cannot find a second case in history when a revolution has taken place in the country and that it There was no economic collapse, the recession did not follow this revolution.

We now have an index of economic growth. The number of jobs in the Republic of Armenia has increased by 51,000 in the last 10 months. That's a total of 10% of the labor market. Of course, today we can not say with certainty what part of these jobs was created from scratch and what part of the underground economy, but in any case, it is an unprecedented success.
For 25-30 years, we said we should fight the underground economy. Now, according to the first quarter data, Armenia's budget revenues were made up to 11 billion more drams. This year, the revenues of the Armenian state budget will be made up to 40 billion more drams, at least. This means that we will build roads and increase salaries for military personnel by 10% in July, and teachers' salaries from 1 September.

We have already increased the salary of 15,000 health workers since 1 January, we have provided and complied with allowances and pensions of 82,000 beneficiaries and retirees to the minimum subsistence level.

With the change of the pension system, we have increased the salary of 200,000 people as of July 1st. At present, we had an economic activity of 5.6% in January after the economic difficulties. In February, we had an economic activity index of 7%.

When they say that the government does not have an economic strategy, economic policy is not good, do you know what is the reason? Because all people who protest have an understanding of economic policy; according to them, the government is not a shareholder of different businesses, does not intervene in different business affairs, it feels bad and is uncomfortable.

Let us say that traditional businesses in Armenia today are not used to this logic because we tell them we do not want anything from them: we only want them to work and pay taxes.

Yes, the economic elite of Armenia is shocked, they do not understand what is going on, they say okay, if they really want nothing, they only want legal taxes, then where are they cheating us? They are shocked; they do not understand what is happening around. Today, real economic processes are taking place in Armenia and if the economic process stops, then where should we collect these taxes? At the same time, I want to emphasize that when we talk that much about taxes; we have no visible alarms coming from economic entities indicating that the tax authorities keep terrorizing them. Nobody terrorizes anyone.”

Speaking of democratic changes in Armenia, Prime Minister Pashinyan said: “Ever since becoming a member of the Council of Europe, we used to come here as a semi-authoritarian state. What we had and did was halfway. We are acting as a fully democratic state in the Council of Europe, and no one doubts this fact. How is it that we used to go forward for the past 20, 25 or 30 years, but as a matter of fact, we went nowhere and could not reach the proposed destination even in 50 years. So, how come Armenia became a truly democratic country within a few months? How did it happen? I mean that as Prime Minister, day after day I grow more confident that we are fulfilling our mission.”

Then the Prime Minister suggested continuing the meeting in the courtyard of the Association of European Parliamentarians, which also included many representatives of the Armenian community.

Speaking to them, the Head of the Armenian Government said: “This meeting is as important to me as the speech and the meeting in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe because it is very important to note that the change the more important in Armenia is the following: Today the Armenian authorities have the legitimacy to represent all Armenians, because the revolution took place not only by the efforts of those present in Armenia.

This revolution would have been impossible without the participation of our compatriots in the diaspora and I know that there are people here who have come from Strasbourg, from different parts of France, even from Germany.
I would like to thank you all for your active participation in the revolution and I want to say that the reason for the national gathering is that the revolution was the victory of each of you.

It is not necessary at all that everyone was physically present in the square. With your moral support in social networks, we have given you a lot of strength, and then as a participant in the revolution, the organizer, you give us great strength with your energy. And now, your support is important for us as a government and for me as Prime Minister.

When I was elected Prime Minister, I arrived in Republic Square and I addressed the people and said: My dear people, you won today, and the reason for this victory is is not that I was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, but the fact that you have decided who will be the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

Today, my main message to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was that now, in the Republic of Armenia, it is the people who decide who will be the power, who will be the opposition, and it will is the greatest achievement we have achieved. Before the revolution, Armenian youth chanted for years: we are the owners of our country

Today it is a reality because the citizen of the Republic of Armenia is the owner of the Republic of Armenia and I believe that you are all here today as proud and dignified citizens.

And, therefore,
Long live freedom!
Long live the Republic of Armenia!
Long live our children and we as we are living and will live in a free and happy Armenia.”

The Prime Minister answered several questions of interest to our compatriots about Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy, the reform program, economic and social development, and so on.

The Prime Minister-headed Armenian delegation returned to Yerevan late on April 11.

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