By Nigar Abbasova
Azerbaijan and the European Union are keen to bolster cooperation in the sphere of transport.
The head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan Malena Mard told Trend that the sides are seeking more intensive cooperation in the transport sphere, mentioning that a mission representing the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) will pay a visit to Azerbaijan till late 2016 in this regard.
Mard noted that the Commission, which works with and supports the Baku International Port in Alat, plans to make a review of the project soon. She also noted that there is no precise information on the date of signing an Open Skies Agreement.
Mentioning that the visit will become the second transport mission of the EU to Azerbaijan, Mard said that the sides will create a sustainable basis, as transport is an essential element of cooperation.
The cooperation with the Union is one of the foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan. 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. A new strategic partnership agreement, which will take a better account of the shared objectives and challenges, is expected to be developed soon.
Moreover, the European Commission has so far allocated more than €187 million for the implementation of different projects within the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) project, which is aimed at strengthening of economic relations, trade and transport links between the EU and participating countries.
Being an international cooperation program in the sphere of transport among the EU and partner-countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia, TRACECA is deemed to rank among the priorities of the European Union.
The EU aspires to be a key foreign investor in Azerbaijan, while the support of the union amounts to around €30 million each year. The EU also supports closer economic integration with Azerbaijan through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership initiative.
The share of European countries in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade stood at 37.12 percent in January to September of 2016. European countries account for nearly 27.89 and 45.87 percent of Azerbaijani import and export respectively.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz