Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (Dec. 18-22)

Analysis Materials 27 December 2017 17:26 (UTC +04:00)

EU, Azerbaijan making good progress in negotiations for new agreement - Federica Mogherini

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.

“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.

Business licensing services to be fully integrated - Azerbaijani Deputy Minister

State structures of Azerbaijan will fully integrate their licensing services with the relevant portal until March 2018, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Economy Sahib Mammadov said at the presentation of the license issuance portal (license.gov.az) in Baku.

It is necessary to amend the relevant to ensure the operation of the portal legislation, said the deputy minister

Mammadov said it is necessary to amend the relevant legislation to ensure the operation of the portal. He added that the proposals have already been sent to the government and their adoption is expected in the near future.

The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the State Agency for Services to Citizens and Social Innovations, entrepreneurs and representatives of government agencies involved in issuing licenses and permits.

Through the new portal, entrepreneurs will be able to send appeals for obtaining, or restoring a license.

The portal will also allow a single register of licenses and permits.

President Aliyev: SGC, other projects to support long-term, sustainable growth of Azerbaijan

Major energy projects being implemented today - the $40-billion Southern Gas Corridor and other projects - will support the long-term, successful sustainable growth of Azerbaijan, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

He made the remarks addressing the opening ceremony of the international conference, titled “2017 – Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue”, kicked off in Baku Dec. 21.

The head of state underlined that Azerbaijan successfully develops, despite big and complex problems.

"We have turned into a very reliable partner in the international arena, a few years ago, we were elected a member of the UN Security Council by the votes of 155 countries. This was our great political victory, because then Azerbaijan was an independent country for only 20 years and during these years managed to gain recognition the international community," he said.

President Aliyev went on to ad that several economic reforms are being implemented in the country.

"Over the past 14 years, Azerbaijan has been developing more rapidly than others in the world from the point of view of economic development. Our economy, GDP grew by more than three-fold," President Aliyev said.

He said that Azerbaijan also carries out a very serious social policy, as a result of which the level of unemployment and poverty is at the level of five percent.

"Huge funds are invested in human capital. Over the past 14 years, more than 3,000 schools, over 600 medical institutions have been reconstructed or built, 12,000 kilometers of roads have been constructed and other necessary social infrastructure is being created in Azerbaijan. International financial structures very much appreciate the carried out reforms. It is enough to name one figure so that you have an idea. The World Davos Economic Forum placed Azerbaijan 35th in the countries' competitiveness rating. Of course, Azerbaijan is rich in energy resources, and we manage these resources efficiently, but the country's competitiveness is measured by other parameters, and this indicator puts us on a par with the 35 most competitive economies on a global scale, " said the president.

The head of state stressed that the society is positive about the future development of the country.