By Rashid Shirinov
The European Union (EU) and the government of Azerbaijan have initialed their Partnership Priorities in Brussels, Denis Daniilidis, Head of Political, Economics and Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, told Trend on July 11.
The document was signed by the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
“The partnership priorities represent an important step forward in EU-Azerbaijan relations, given that they set the joint policy priorities that will guide and enhance our partnership over the coming years,” reads a message on the website of the European External Action Service.
The four main areas of cooperation within the Partnership Priorities reflect those identified in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Program, namely: strengthening institutions and good governance; economic development and market opportunities; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate action; mobility and people-to-people contacts.
“The Partnership Priorities will also provide the policy framework for our financial cooperation for 2018-2020,” the message reads.
Through the Partnership Priorities, the EU and Azerbaijan renew their commitment to an ambitious and comprehensive agenda. The agenda will reflect the values and principles of the European Neighbourhood Policy, including respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and dialogue with civil society.
The Partnership Priorities will be formally approved by the EU and Azerbaijan and then adopted.
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.
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 will offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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