By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of the European Union (EU) in many ways, Czech member of the European Parliament Jan Zahradil said on January 23 at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, where a draft comprehensive agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan was discussed.
Speaking of the comprehensive agreement, Zahradil said that this document deserves full support.
He also noted that Azerbaijan is in the difficult situation [in connection with the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict]. “And, let’s be honest, this is a country that was not always treated fairly,” the parliamentarian added.
In November 2016, 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.
To date, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1996, which entered into force in 1999. The new agreement should replace the current one 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 will offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
The new agreement envisages approximation of Azerbaijan’s legislation and procedures to the most important international and trade norms and standards of the EU. This should lead to improved access of Azerbaijani products to the EU markets.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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