Last updated in March 2017
Germany supports Armenia’s efforts to move closer to the EU (as part of the Eastern Partnership) and NATO. Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan visited Berlin in April 2016, meeting with Federal Chancellor Merkel.
Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier visited Armenia from 29 to 30 June 2016 as part of a trip to the Southern Caucasus.
As a member of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk Group, Germany supports the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ efforts to negotiate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, calling for de-escalation and urging both sides to show greater willingness to compromise. Germany is encouraging Armenia and Turkey to continue the process of rapprochement which began in 2009 but has now stalled. Germany supports this process at civil-society level by funding cross-border reconciliation projects.
Germany is Armenia’s principal trading partner in the European Union. Germany ranks third worldwide in terms of exports to Armenia, behind Russia and China. As an importer of Armenian products, it occupies fifth place, behind Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia and Canada. Bilateral trade between Germany and Armenia remains modest in absolute figures. In 2016, Armenian exports to Germany stood at 139 million US dollars (down from 145 million US dollars in 2015). German exports to Armenia were worth 186 million US dollars, a drop of about 10 percent compared with the previous year.
Germany’s principal exports to Armenia were motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals and electrical engineering products. Its main imports from Armenia were iron, steel, copper, molybdenum and other metals, as well as textiles.
In terms of development cooperation, Germany is the major bilateral donor to Armenia, alongside the United States. At the intergovernmental negotiations on development cooperation held in November 2016, Germany pledged up to 54 million euros for financial cooperation. In addition, new funding was made available in 2014 for regional projects in which Armenia is involved. A total of up to 21 million euros is being provided within the framework of technical cooperation and up to a million euros in financial cooperation for regional projects.
Since 2010, official German development cooperation with the Southern Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) has been conducted exclusively through regional programmes under the Federal Government’s Caucasus Initiative. The Caucasus Initiative priorities are sustainable economic development, energy, the environment, developing democracy and the rule of law and strengthening local administration.
Ongoing German development cooperation projects with Armenia therefore concentrate on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, developing and reforming the financial sector, improving energy efficiency, promoting renewable energy and regional power exchange, the sustainable management of natural resources and the establishment of nature conservation areas. Efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law focus on creating a functioning, independent legal and judicial system by providing expert advice on legislation, jurisprudence and application of the law. Other goals are the development of democracy at local level, administrative decentralisation, more efficient public finance management and the promotion of civil-society participation in political decision-making processes. In addition, there are projects aimed at modernising the water, sanitation and waste-management infrastructure.
The microprojects supported by the German Embassy in Yerevan focus on providing assistance to kindergartens and promoting the participation of people with disabilities in society, as well as on further-education and rehabilitation measures in the medical sector.
Culture and education
Armenians derive their sense of identity in large part from their ancient culture steeped in history. Culture is therefore an important factor in bilateral relations. The main goal of Germany’s cultural relations and education policy in Armenia is to promote German as a foreign language at both school and university level.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Federal Office of Administration - Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) have their own German staff working in Armenia. The language centre in Yerevan, which opened in early 2012, also includes a German reading room and the office of a Goethe-Institut consultant for teaching German. Literary, musical and other events, which are organised in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in Tbilisi/Georgia, which serves Armenia, and the German Embassy in Yerevan, are designed to convey a modern and realistic picture of Germany and intensify contacts between those active in the cultural sector in the two countries.