Date set for next meeting of EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 20
By Nigar Guliyeva Trend:
The next meeting of the European Union - Azerbaijan Cooperation Council will be held in Brussels on Feb. 9, the European Commission said in a statement released on Dec.20.
The Commission noted that Azerbaijan has renewed its engagement and dialogue with the EU, including through the launch of negotiations on a comprehensive new agreement to modernize and revitalize the EU-Azerbaijan partnership.
"Azerbaijan has also embarked on an important process to diversify its economy," the EC reported.
The Commission further noted that the details of this process are highlighted in a Joint Report on Azerbaijan, released today by the European External Action Service and the European Commission. The report focuses on key developments and reform efforts, particularly in jointly agreed priority areas in the context of Azerbaijan's participation in the Eastern Partnership.
The report assesses that the launch of these negotiations in February 2017 has given new impetus to the cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
"New areas of cooperation are being explored as the existing structured dialogue under the PCA has been reactivated. Azerbaijan's efforts to diversify its economy also provide a good basis for further cooperation in view of sustainable socio-economic development. World Trade Organization membership would represent a considerable step forward in this regard," the EC reported.
The EC further noted that it stands ready to cooperate with and support Azerbaijan in all areas of mutual interest, in full respect of values and commitments.
"The ambitious Southern Gas Corridor project is just one example of this cooperation in the interest of both Azerbaijan and the EU. Ongoing negotiations on an EU-Azerbaijan common civil aviation area agreement should also lead to a further significant step being taken in improving connectivity between Azerbaijan and the countries of the EU. The Partnership Priorities under discussion between the two sides also aim at providing focus for the broad cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan and will guide the programming of EU financial assistance," the EC said.
The EC also reiterated that Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union, whose independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity the EU supports.
The EU is Azerbaijan's single largest economic partner representing 48.6 percent of its total trade and providing the largest share of foreign direct investment.