Azerbaijan and EU aim to deepen ties
Azerbaijan and the European Union are preparing a new agreement on cooperation, designed to replace 1996 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which will take common goals and problems facing the EU and Azerbaijan today into account. This new document will provide an updated framework for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Last week, Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev held a meeting with Kestutis Jankauskas, the newly appointed head of the European Union delegation to Azerbaijan. Mustafayev said that until now, the EU has provided technical assistance to Azerbaijan in the amount of 582 million euros. “Over the past ten years, the share of the EU countries in the total volume of investments in the country’s fixed capital amounted to 46 percent, including 35 percent in direct investments in the non-oil sector. Over 1,300 companies from EU countries operate in Azerbaijan,” Mustafayev said.
As Caspian News writes in an article "Azerbaijan Aims To Deepen Ties With EU As New Partnership and Cooperation Agreement Gets Negotiated", The EU, which accounts for nearly 51 percent of Azerbaijan’s trade turnover, sees Azerbaijan as a potential market for its exports of heavy machinery and transportation equipment. For its part, Azerbaijan has supplied the EU with non-renewable energy resources, which dominate the country’s total exports to the EU countries. Despite the fact that energy is a key sector in bilateral relations, Baku is set at diversifying its economy.
Over 1,300 companies from EU countries operate in Azerbaijan, with 400 coming from the UK, currently the EU’s second-largest economy. Along with the energy sector, London and Baku enjoys joint cooperation in realms of education, trade, tourism, ICT, as well as other infrastructure and transit projects.
EU’s third-largest economy, France, participates in joint projects related to urban transportation, infrastructure and the environment. France also helps to support Azerbaijan’s space industry. In 2013, Azerbaijan’s first telecommunication satellite, known as Azerspace-1, was launched from the French Guiana by the French Arianespace company.
Azerbaijan and EU countries also cooperate within the framework of the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange program, which supports Azerbaijan’s public administration by way of approximation, application and enforcement of EU legislation as well as sharing EU best practices. Other programs that contribute to Azerbaijan’s legislative and capacity building development include Twinning and SIGMA, meant to strengthen public governance and socio-economic development. “Expanding cooperation with the European Union is a good message, both for Azerbaijan and the region,” Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in Brussels on February 6, one day before negotiations for a new agreement began. “The European Union is a reliable friend and partner for Azerbaijan.”