Last updated in October 2018
Germany is supporting Armenia as it moves closer to both the EU (as part of the Eastern Partnership and the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement – CEPA) and to NATO. Then President Serzh Sargsyan visited Berlin in April 2016. He also attended the Munich Security Conference 2018. Following the Velvet Revolution in April and May 2018, the first visit by a German Head of Government to Armenia took place on 24 and 25 August 2018 when Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel met President Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and others.
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 that 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 EU, ranking 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, Switzerland and Georgia. Bilateral trade between Germany and Armenia remains modest in absolute figures. In 2017, Armenia’s exports to Germany totalled 112 million euros, while Germany exported goods worth 152 million euros to Armenia. This means that there was a slight decline of 0.5 percent in trade between the two countries compared with the previous year and that Germany had a trade surplus of 40 million euros with Armenia.
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.
Germany is one of the most important foreign direct investors in the country. According to UNCTAD, total foreign direct investments amounted to approximately 4.3 billion US dollars at the end of 2015, of which 6.3 percent came from Germany. CRONIMET Mining AG, which has invested in copper and molybdenum mining in Armenia, is the largest German investor.
In terms of development cooperation, Germany is the major bilateral donor to Armenia alongside the United States. At the intergovernmental negotiations on development cooperation in November 2016, Germany pledged up to 54 million euros for 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 within the framework of technical cooperation, along with up to a million euros in financial cooperation for regional projects.
Since 2010, official German development cooperation with the Southern Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) has been conducted through regional programmes in the German Government’s Caucasus Initiative, which focuses on sustainable development, environmental and climate protection, and democracy, municipal development and promoting the rule of law.
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, the sustainable management of natural resources and the establishment of nature conservation areas. 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. German development cooperation also supports Armenia with the economic and social integration of Syrian refugees with Armenian roots.
The micro-projects supported by the German Embassy in Yerevan focus on providing assistance to schools and education institutes and on promoting the participation of people with disabilities in society, as well as on projects in further medical training and rehabilitation.
Culture and education
Armenians derive their sense of identity in large part from their ancient culture steeped in history and 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 and the Federal Office of Administration – Central Agency for Schools Abroad have their own German staff in Armenia. There are seven schools in the Schools: Partners for the Future programme, including five German Language Certificate (DSD) schools and two schools with German teaching programmes (FIT schools). Since 2018, three further schools that teach German have been official candidates for Schools: Partners for the Future. German competes with French for the status of third most important foreign language in schools. A Goethe-Zentrum (Goethe-Institut centre) was opened in Yerevan on 16 December 2017; two staff members have been posted to it from Germany, including a teaching expert. The Goethe-Institut’s language-learning centre and partner has been based in the Goethe-Zentrum building since 2012.
There are 29 partnerships between German and Armenian higher education institutions, in particular long-standing ties with Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where the MESROP Centre for Armenian Studies was established in 1998.
Contacts between the two countries in the cultural and education sectors are close. Armenia’s Education Minister makes regular visits to Germany. There is a lively exchange between schools in Saxony-Anhalt and Armenia, with seven school partnerships currently in place. The Mashtots Matenadaran, an Institute of Scientific Research on Ancient Manuscripts (UNESCO Memory of the World Programme) in Yerevan, receives support from Germany in restoring and using the manuscripts, which are up to 1300 years old.
The political foundations, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the German Adult Education Association and the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation have offices in Yerevan staffed by local employees.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is updated regularly. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its Contents.