New EU-Azerbaijan partnership agreement to be ready in 2019

It is expected that the new comprehensive partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and Azerbaijan will be ready for signing in 2019, Javanshir Feyziyev, co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) said in an interview with EURACTIV.

“The negotiators on the new comprehensive agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan are present in each Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) meeting to inform us about the current situation on talks,” he added.

Feyziyev noted that the new EU-Azerbaijan bilateral agreement is supposed to cover all political, economic, social and cultural sides of the relations, including trade and investment, human rights and rule of law, education, environment and other sectoral cooperation, including in energy and transport.

“There is no time restriction, but the negotiators are really making all their efforts to accelerate the process. We believe the governments will be able to finalize talks by the end of this year and a new agreement to be ready for signing in the first half of 2019,” he said.

In November 2016, the EU Council issued a mandate to the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate on behalf of the EU and its Member States a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan.

The new agreement should replace the partnership and cooperation agreement of 1996, which would make it possible to take greater account of the common goals and challenges facing the EU and Azerbaijan today.

The agreement will comply with the principles approved in 2015 in the document of the European Neighborhood Policy and will offer an updated basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.

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

The new agreement provides for the approximation of Azerbaijan's legislation and procedures to the most important international and trade norms and standards of the EU, which should lead to improved access of Azerbaijani products to the EU markets.