Azerbaijan, Baku, 29 May / Trend E. Aliyev /
An agreement relating to the issue of simplification of the visa system between Azerbaijan and the European Union will be signed in the next few months, the head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia told reporters on Wednesday.
"Negotiations are on-going, and I think this agreement will be signed in November at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. I can assure the residents of Azerbaijan that simplification of the visa regime with Europe is a matter of months," Kobia said.
He added that both the course of negotiations and the expected liberalisation of visa regulations are clear examples of successful and effective cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
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.
The readmission agreement in turn will work out a mechanism to return those residing in the EU and Azerbaijan without permission to the homeland.
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 and the EU. 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.