By Elgun Mansimov - Trend:
One of the key directions of Azerbaijan's foreign policy is interaction with the European Union (EU), an important player in the system of international relations.
At present, Azerbaijan is one of the active participants in the EU's Eastern Partnership program. At the same time, the European Union is one of the largest trade partners of our country. In recent years, Azerbaijan and the EU have shown interest in developing relations at all levels.
The visit of European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi to Baku and the views expressed during the meetings highlighted the mutual and strategic importance of these relations.
Varhelyi also wrote an article on the results of his visit to Azerbaijan. Published on the EC's website, the article addressed a number of important issues, in particular, emphasizes the EU’s decision to develop cooperation with Azerbaijan, and also highly appreciates it.
The article stated that Azerbaijan is the most prosperous country in the region, successfully fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, that has not had a serious negative impact on the Azerbaijani economy. Besides, it stressed a great significance of Azerbaijan in the development of relations between the Caspian and Black Sea countries.
Azerbaijan - strong partner of EU
Varhelyi, emphasizing the economic power and financial opportunities of Azerbaijan, assessed the development of relations with Azerbaijan not from the point of view of financial assistance of the EU, and in terms of strengthening cooperation. Therefore, the European Union demonstrates this approach to Azerbaijan.
The European commissioner also highly appreciated the transport and transit infrastructure of Azerbaijan, emphasizing the important role of our country in the diversification and optimization of trade routes.
In general, statement of the commissioner on the post-conflict stage [following Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenian and Azerbaijan, including the 2020 Karabakh war], when all sides have already accepted the results of the war, as well as on the readiness of the EU to work in the direction of liquidation of the consequences of the war and the achievement of long-term peace in the region has a great importance for Azerbaijan.
Thus, from the visit of the European commissioner, the main conclusion can be made that Azerbaijan is a strong partner of the EU. At the same time, the fact deserves special attention that the issues of rehabilitation and regional development in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period were discussed with Azerbaijan as a leading country in the region.
Bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are based on an agreement on partnership and cooperation which was signed in Luxembourg on April 22, 1996 and entered into force on July 1, 1999. The document forms the legal basis of relations with the EU, defining the format of cooperation in all spheres, except military.
The deadline for the implementation of the partnership and cooperation agreement, signed for 10 years, will be automatically extended in 2009, until the year of signing the new document.
Energy cooperation: 10 bcm of gas to be supplied to European countries
A memorandum of understanding on strategic energy partnership signed in 2006 laid the foundation for bilateral cooperation with the EU in this area. The document defines four areas of interaction: adaptation of legislation, strengthening the system of supply and transit, energy efficiency, technical cooperation and exchange of experience.
Energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU isn’t limited by the memorandum of understanding. In January 2011, former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed the Baku Joint Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor. The Southern Gas Corridor is a strategic initiative that can bring out the gas resources of the Caspian, Central Asia and the Middle East in the European market and play a role in strengthening the EU's energy security.
As a result, Azerbaijani gas will be transported to Bulgaria, Greece and Italy via Georgia and Turkey. From the second phase of the Shah Deniz field in the first stage six billion cubic meters of gas will be exported to Turkey, and ten billion cubic meters to European countries.
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