On 13 November 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ioannis Lagos of the Non-attached Members posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“After a painful defeat and an even more painful ‘peace agreement’, the human tragedy of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has begun. Caught up as victims in a political power play between Russia and Turkey, to which the EU has been obstinately turning a blind eye, the Armenians have been left to suffer defeat at the hands of the Azeris and are now being forced to flee what have for years been their ancestral homes in Nagorno-Karabakh. Under the terms of the peace agreement, Azerbaijan will keep the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it occupied in the month following the outbreak of the conflict and take control of the Kelbajar, Aghdam and Lachin districts by 1 December 2020. Ethnic Armenian inhabitants of these areas that have now been made refugees are, according to reports and tweets, burning the homes that they are being forced to leave forever rather than allow them to fall into the hands of the Azeris.
In view of this:
1. Can the High Representative say what measures the EU will take to help the Armenian refugees of Nagorno-Karabakh, given that they qualify for refugee status under the Geneva Convention?
2. Will it approve funding for reception facilities and the granting of asylum to Armenian refugees by EU Member States?”
On 1 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The EU welcomes the cessation of hostilities on 10 November 2020. It has called on all parties to respect it to prevent further loss of life and for an investigation on war crimes that may have been committed before and after the ceasefire.
The EU has mobilised EUR 3.9 million in humanitarian support to ensure critical assistance to the civilians most affected by the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh based on needs and in line with the humanitarian principles. This emergency support will help EU humanitarian partners to deliver basic assistance including food and non-food items, health support, medical equipment, and other essentials to those affected by the fighting, in particular displaced people.
The cessation of hostilities is only a first step to end the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The EU reiterates its full support to the international format of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group led by its Co-Chairs to pursue a comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the conflict, including on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The EU also stands ready to effectively contribute to their efforts, including through support for stabilisation, post conflict rehabilitation and confidence building measures, which would contribute to finding durable solutions for displaced populations. The EU underlines the importance of durable solutions, including the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the displaced populations in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in line with international standards.”
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