Last updated in February 2018
Germany supports Armenia’s efforts to move closer to both the European Union (through the Eastern Partnership and the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, or CEPA for short) – and NATO. In April 2016 Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan visited Berlin, where he met with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. President Sargsyan was most recently in Germany in 2018 to attend the Munich Security Conference.
Germany’s then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Armenia from 29 to 30 June 2016 as part of a trip to the Southern Caucasus.
Germany is a member of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and as such supports the OSCE 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, while also supporting this process at civil society level by funding cross-border reconciliation projects.
Germany is Armenia’s largest 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 2017, Armenian exports to Germany stood at 112 million euros, while German exports to Armenia were worth 152 million euros. This represented a slight decline in bilateral trade (a drop of 0.5 percent compared with the previous year) and resulted in a German trade surplus of 40 million euros with Armenia.
Germany’s main 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.
Germany is one of the most important foreign direct investors in Armenia. According to UNCTAD figures, it accounted for 6.3 percent of the total foreign direct investment of approximately 4.3 billion US dollars that had flowed into Armenia by the end of 2015. The largest single investor from Germany is Cronimet Mining, a firm that has been investing in copper and molybdenum mining in Armenia.
In terms of development cooperation, Germany is one of the most important bilateral donors to Armenia, alongside the United States. At the intergovernmental negotiations on development cooperation held in November 2016, Germany pledged up to 54 million euros in bilateral financial cooperation. In addition, new funding was made available for regional projects in which Armenia is involved. A total of 21 million euros is being provided for technical cooperation and up to one million euros for regional financial cooperation projects.
Since 2010, official German development cooperation with the countries of the Southern Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) has been conducted through regional projects under the German Government’s Caucasus Initiative. The Caucasus Initiative’s key areas of focus include sustainable economic development, environmental and resource protection as well as good local governance and decentralisation.
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 sustainable natural resource management and establishing nature conservation areas. Other goals include 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 municipal water, sanitation and waste management infrastructure. German development cooperation is also assisting Armenia with the economic and social integration of Syrian refugees of Armenian descent.
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, which is steeped in history, as well as from the Armenian Apostolic Church. 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 Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) have their own German staff working in Armenia. There are seven PASCH schools, of which five are DSD schools and two FIT schools. German competes with French for the position of third foreign language. A Goethe-Zentrum was opened in Yerevan on 16 December 2017, and has two staff members, one of whom is a teaching specialist. The language centre, which opened in 2012 and is a partner of the Goethe-Institut, is also housed in the building of the Goethe-Zentrum.
There are 29 partnerships between German and Armenian universities; of particular note are the long-standing relations with Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where in 1998 the Mesrop Center of Armenian Studies was established.
The two countries maintain close contacts in the field of culture. The Armenian Education and Science Minister visits Germany regularly. There is a lively exchange between schools in Saxony-Anhalt and Armenia, which currently includes seven school partnerships. Germany is helping the Mashtots Matenadaran, an Institute of Scientific Research on Ancient Manuscripts in Yerevan, whose ancient manuscripts collection is listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, to restore and improve the usability of manuscripts up to 1300 years old.
Several German political foundations – the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Heinrich Böll Foundation – as well as the German Adult Education Association (DVV) and the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) have offices in Yerevan, though these are operated without any seconded personnel.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.