EU-Azerbaijan subcommittees to operate in late 2010
Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr. 5 / Trend I.Khalilova /
Two new sub-committees on EU-Azerbaijan cooperation will launch their activity in the second half of 2010, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev said today.
The decision to establish the subcommittees on cooperation in freedom, security, democracy, human rights and social and humanitarian cooperation was adopted at the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Committee meeting Sept. 25, 2009 in Baku.
According to the official, the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Committee is expected to hold preliminary discussions in early July before the sub-committees begin to operate.
In late June, the existing subcommittee on trade and related issues will hold its next meeting. The Subcommittee on Energy, Transport and Environment already held its regular meeting in February.
The increasing the number of subcommittees confirms the EU's interest in Azerbaijan, as part of a national action plan within the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership.
Since 1992, the EU has provided technical assistance worth 400 million euro to Azerbaijan. Based on the ENP action plan signed in November 2006, the European Commission has allocated 88 million euro to Azerbaijan for 2007-2010.
According to preliminary estimates the new program's budget for 2011-2013 years is 120 million euro. The budget is expected to increase by 2013 through funds partially allocated by the EU via the Eastern Partnership initiative.
In May 2009, Azerbaijan joined the EU's Eastern Partnership.
The European Ministerial Council approved the establishment of the Eastern Partnership with the participation of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus June 20, 2008. The EU has allocated 300 million euro for this initiative, but the budget for each country has not yet been specified.
The ENP Action Plan priorities for Azerbaijan approved in November 2006 in Brussels are: strengthening democracy, improving business and investment climate, supporting durable economic development, harmonizing legislation in economic and management practices, and strengthening EU-Azerbaijan cooperation in energy and transport.
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