By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
In February 2017, the EU and Azerbaijan began negotiations on a new framework agreement designed to give new impetus to political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation. Azerbaijan is a strategic energy partner for the EU and plays a pivotal role in bringing Caspian energy resources to the EU market.
The European Union is the major investor in the oil and non-oil sectors of Azerbaijan read the EU materials.
The materials say that the 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.
The EU-Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement enables gradual approximation of Azerbaijan’s legislation and procedures with EU and international trade-related laws and standards.
In Azerbaijan, the EU has assisted 13,000 companies with funding, training, and export support to new markets through the EU4Business initiative. The EU supports the government in improving the country’s business and investment climate.
Moreover, the EU supports Azerbaijan’s economic diversification agenda notably through support to education and regional development.
EU report on the business environment in Azerbaijan proposes five priority reforms which include greater transparency in the tax and customs spheres, ensuring the needs of companies in the field of education, ensuring transparency in the legal sphere and increasing transparency and stability in the financial sphere.
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.
It is noteworthy that justice sector reform is one of the priority sectors for EU assistance to Azerbaijan. The goals are to support alternative dispute resolution, help fight corruption, and provide legal aid and better access to justice for citizens and businesses.
Azerbaijan is a strategic energy partner for the EU, currently supplying around 5 percent of the EU’s gas demand. Azerbaijan will bring Caspian gas resources to the EU market through the Southern Gas Corridor.
In 2016, the EU launched a new regional program, EU4Energy, which supports Eastern Partnership countries, including Azerbaijan, in achieving their energy policy objectives and improving their energy efficiency. Azerbaijan benefits from its favorable location at the crossroads of transport connections linking North and South, and East and West.
It has invested in important infrastructure projects such as the Port of Baku and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. The EU provides technical know-how to the Port of Baku and its free-trade zone.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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