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Thursday, 09 November 2017 10:15

EU: We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential with Azerbaijan Featured

EU: We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential with Azerbaijan

“The summit will provide the leaders with an opportunity to take stock of important developments since the summit in Riga in 2015 and to discuss the ways for strengthening bilateral, multilateral and sectoral cooperation”, Maja Kocijancic, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net).

She noted that the summit will discuss how to further strengthen cooperation in the four priority areas agreed in Riga in 2015:

  • stronger economy: economic development and better market opportunities
  • stronger governance: strengthening of institutions and good governance
  • stronger connectivity: enhancing interconnections, notably in the areas of transport and energy
  • stronger society: increasing mobility and contacts between people.

According to her, the basis for discussion will be the 20 deliverables for 2020 in these four areas which were identified by the EEAS and the European Commission in a joint staff working document 'Eastern Partnership - Focusing on key priorities and deliverables', presented in December 2016 and revised in June 2017.

“Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union. We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential through a new bilateral agreement”, Maja Kocijancic, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy told Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net)  in reply to the question about the steps they expect Azerbaijan to take towards the EU with the aim of concluding a legal agreement on strategic partnership.

She noted that Azerbaijan is an important partner for the European Union.

“We want to upgrade our relationship and develop its full potential through a new bilateral agreement. This new agreement will broaden and deepen the scope of our relations, based on shared fundamental values and principles and taking into account the new global, political and economic interests we share and challenges face together”, Maja Kocijancic said.

According to her, the negotiations are ongoing and have been conducted on a regular basis both in Baku and Brussels, in order to conclude negotiations without delay. Both sides have demonstrated a strong commitment to progressing in the talks. Discussions so far have been held in a constructive spirit and there is a strong will on both sides to have an ambitious agreement that replaces the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1996, reflecting the significant development of relations between EU and Azerbaijan since then.

In reply to the question about the hopes EU rests on the autumn Eastern Partnership summit Maja Kocijancic highlighted that the “Summit will be a moment to focus on our positive agenda: at areas where as the 28 EU Member States and the 6 partner countries, we can advance and cooperate together”. She added that EU has recently developed a vision of "20 deliverables for 2020", which will bring results across each of the four priority areas identified at the last Summit in Riga: strengthening institutions and good governance; mobility and contacts between people; market opportunities; and inter-connectivity (for more information, "Eastern Partnership – Focusing on key priorities and deliverables").

“We have already seen real progress being made in all of these areas, and the Summit is an opportunity to look at what has been achieved and what can be accelerated moving forward. As with all of the European Union's policies, what we are looking for from the Eastern Partnership is to bring tangible benefits and better livelihoods to our citizens – both within the EU and beyond its borders. The Summit will be a time to demonstrate those benefits. To show that we are stronger together”, she said.

Maja Kocijancic added that “the Eastern Partnership Summit is an opportunity to build on our achievements to-date and also to inject new dynamism into our partnership”. She also said that This Summit is also an opportunity for us to show our collective unity, strong commitment to the Eastern Partnership and to show that we are delivering and will continue to deliver tangible results to citizens across the region. The Eastern Partnership is very interesting as a concept as the countries that participate are quite different, albeit with some common challenges. So it is clear that differentiation remains an important part of our relations within the region, but there is also a clear strategic value of maintaining the inclusive framework of the Eastern Partnership, which encourages cooperation within this region to tackle the challenges that we are collectively faced with”, Maja Kocijancic concluded.

 

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