Baku expects EU Council’s mandate for talks

Azerbaijan expects to get the mandate of the Council of the European Union for holding the negotiations on a new agreement on strategic modernization partnership, Mahmud Mammadguliyev, the Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister.

This agreement will determine the format of the future cooperation with the EU.

“The Azerbaijani government has submitted a draft agreement to the EU in May 2015 as part of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga,” he said. “Today we expect to get a mandate from the Council of the EU to start the negotiations.”

He said that the EU is interested in expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan on energy security, transport and combating terrorism.

At present, the bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation, which was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.

Under the new agreement, it is planned to adjust the Azerbaijani legislation and procedures to the EU most important international and trade norms and standards, which must improve the delivery of Azerbaijani goods to the EU market.

Today, the EU is the main trade partner of Azerbaijan. The European countries mainly supply machinery, transport equipment and import oil products to Azerbaijan.

The share of European countries in the Azerbaijani foreign trade is 46.8 percent in January-October 2015, according to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee. At present, some 30.51 percent and 59.23 percent of Azerbaijani imports and exports account for the EU countries respectively.

Instead of an association agreement, Azerbaijan put forward an initiative of concluding an agreement on strategic modernization partnership with the EU.

This document is an action plan, aimed at expanding the cooperation with the EU beyond energy cooperation. The agreement will determine new areas of partnership, such as education and other areas.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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