Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 20
By Gulgiz Muradova - Trend:
The European Union and Azerbaijan are making good progress in negotiations for a new agreement, said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the European Commission, the EC said in a statement released on Dec.20.
“Since the European Union and Azerbaijan signed our last bilateral agreement - the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement – in 1996, a lot has changed. It is long overdue that the relationship we have on paper reflects the depth and strength of our partnership in reality, as well as giving us a good basis to develop our relationship further in the future, " she said.
Mogherini stressed that together the sides "will look for more opportunities for young people to meet and to travel, possibilities for businesses to grow, to protect human rights and to facilitate energy relations, bringing real benefits to our respective citizens."
Johannes Hahn ,Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, for his part, highlighted Azerbaijan's efforts to enhance its resilience, in particular to diversify its economy.
"We stand ready to support the emergence of new economic and social actors to help create a diverse, strong and inclusive society in Azerbaijan. We will continue our support for reforms in areas such as public administration and justice – which will strengthen rule of law making Azerbaijan more attractive to investors; and education - crucial for the development of the necessary skills to face the challenges of tomorrow, "said Hahn.
The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in November 2016.
The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.
The agreement will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European Neighborhood Policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.