Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas told reporters in Baku that the next round of negotiations on a new agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan will be held on December 15.
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 is expected to replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement which marked the beginning of a mainly positive relationship between Azerbaijan and the EU and provides for wide-ranging cooperation in the areas of political dialogue trade, investment, in economic matters, legislation and culture.
Currently, the EU is Azerbaijan's first trading partner representing 51 percent of Azerbaijan's total trade. The EU's exports to Azerbaijan consist primarily of machinery and transport equipment whereas EU imports from Azerbaijan cover mainly oil and gas (98 percent of total imports).
Touching upon the aviation agreement with Azerbaijan he stressed that the EU hopes to initial the agreement in the second half of January 2018, adding that 99 percent of the agreement's articles have already been agreed upon.
Creation of a common aviation area is an initiative of the European Commission and aims to open and integrate aviation markets. This will lead to new opportunities for consumers and operators, and, most importantly, to high standards in terms of flight safety as well as air traffic management.
A horizontal agreement between Azerbaijan and the EC was signed on 7 July 2009. According to this agreement, any EU airline to operate flights between Azerbaijan and any EU Member State if there is a bilateral air services agreement and if free traffic rights are available.
A Communication on developing a Common Aviation Area with the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted by the European Commission in August 2011 as part of the process of creating a wider Common Aviation Area with its Eastern and Southern Neighbours.