By Sara Rajabova
A European Union official believes that Azerbaijan and the EU share a number of common interests.
Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations said energy security is just one example.
“Our cooperation within the Eastern Partnership is an important tool to work towards fulfilling these shared interests,” he told Trend on January 29.
Hahn said the EU offers concrete support: assistance of up to € 94 million from the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) is available for Azerbaijan in the years 2014-2017, not counting on regional cooperation.
He noted that the main objective is making partnership with Azerbaijan in supporting its own path to modernization, focusing on regional development, education and justice reform.
“The upcoming review of the European Neighborhood Policy will be an occasion to jointly adjust, if there is a need for the cooperation between the two partners,” Hahn said.
Hahn visited Azerbaijan to discuss the expansion of cooperation as part of the Eastern Partnership program.
He voiced intention to visit Azerbaijan before Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, most probably in April.
The next summit of the Eastern Partnership member-states will be held in Riga on May 21-22.
The EU and Azerbaijan are maintaining relations under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in 1996 and came into force in 1999.
Since then the PCA has provided the legal framework for EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, economic, legislative and cultural cooperation.
Azerbaijan is also included in the EU program on "Eastern Partnership" adopted on the initiative of Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008.
Eastern Partnership is a program of the European Union, aimed at the development of the EU integration relations with six countries, namely, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Belarus.