Today.Az » Business » EU implements 21 joint projects with Azerbaijan
11 October 2019 [17:35] - Today.Az
By Leman Mammadova
The European Union (EU) supports Azerbaijani government in improving the country’s business and investment climate.
So far, 21 projects have been implemented between the EU and Azerbaijan, in partnership with 34 institutions, Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of EU Delegation, said during structural consultations on "The Eastern Partnership post-2020", on October 11.
“Over the years of cooperation, Azerbaijan has been recognized as a reliable partner of the EU in the energy sector,” noted Jankauskas.
Pointing to the strategic partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan, he added that cooperation continues in various economic and social spheres today.
“Azerbaijan is a strong partner for EU,” he said.
In his words, the next round of negotiations between the EU and Azerbaijan on a new strategic partnership agreement may be held in November.
Jankauskas further noted that EU expects final technical proposals from Azerbaijan for draft agreement on cooperation in the aviation field (Open Skies Agreement) with a view to concluding negotiations for signing this document.
The agreement aims to simplify air traffic between Azerbaijan and the EU countries, both passenger transportation and cargo transportation. Azerbaijan signed a similar agreement with the U.S. in 2016.
Vassilis Maragos, Head of Unit, Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, said that as part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) program, the EU agreed on a number of priorities with Azerbaijan.
“Following the recent expansion of the EU in 2004-2005, the organization has made new investments in the development and security of the Eastern Neighborhood Countries,” he underlined.
Maragos pointed out that the EU and Azerbaijan have agreed on partnership priorities and are currently working on a new strategic partnership agreement that addresses the broader demands. “This agreement will bring our relations to a new level.”
In his words, as a result of EU projects implemented in Azerbaijan so far, 3,000 jobs have been created in the country to support the private sector. “In other EaP countries, this indicator is much higher. Therefore, the potential of the work that we plan to carry out in Azerbaijan is wider. The EU is Azerbaijan's largest investment and trade partner.”
EU’s share in Azerbaijan’s trade accounted for 41.7 percent in 2018. The EU is the largest export (54.3 percent) and import (20.3 percent) market for Azerbaijan. In Azerbaijan, the EU has assisted 13,000 companies with funding, training, and export support to new markets through the EU4Business initiative.
Since 2011, 33 EU regional programs worth 497 million euros have been implemented in Azerbaijan, as well as 17 twinning projects, 63 grant projects, 21 technical support programs. Twenty-six framework agreements were signed between the parties.
EU and Azerbaijan are currently working on strategic partnership agreement on cooperation. Currently, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation that was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
The new agreement should replace the agreement of 1996, and should better take account of the common goals and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.
The agreement will comply with the principles approved in 2015 in the document of the European Neighborhood Policy and will offer an updated basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.