Head of EU Delegation: Azerbaijan, EU has huge cooperation potential
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 7 / Trend S. Ahmadova /
There is a huge potential for cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia said at the "EU, Azerbaijan security and integration" international conference in Baku on Friday.
"Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of different civilizations and economic, social and religious models," Kobia said.
Kobia stressed that Azerbaijan and the EU have wonderful relationship in the field of energy security. However, he added that the cooperation between the sides goes beyond the energy.
He stressed the importance of visa facilitation between Azerbaijan and the EU.
"We want to bring our population closer with each other, and to get to know each other better," Kobia said. Facilitated visa regime will allow Azerbaijani citizens to travel to the EU in an easier way than it is today, he added.
The agreement on simplification of the visa system for citizens of Azerbaijan provides for reducing the list of documents to be submitted with the application for a visa and the cost for specific categories, the possibility of issuing long term multiple-entry visas and the setting of deadlines for processing visa applications.
Relations between Azerbaijan and the EU are based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1996 in Luxembourg that came into force in 1999. In 2009, the EU foreign ministers gave the European Commission a mandate to start negotiations on the conclusion of bilateral association agreements between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on the one hand, and the EU on the other. These agreements will serve as a new practical instrument to replace bilateral action plans.
Azerbaijan is also a part of the EU Eastern Partnership Programme adopted at the initiative of Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008. The purpose of the programme is to achieve convergence between the EU and Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. It provides for a significant increase in the level of political engagement, broad integration of former Soviet republics in the EU economy, increasing the amount of financial assistance and strengthening energy security.