Azerbaijan and the European Union are resuming negotiations within the framework of the existing mechanism of cooperation, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev told Trend Aug. 22.
Subcommittees will start work in September, said Mammad-Guliyev adding that during the autumn, it is planned to hold sessions of four subcommittees, operating in the spheres of trade, energy and transportation, ecology, security and human rights, education and other social issues.
He noted that these consultations will be held regardless of the terms of mandate of the EU Council to start negotiations on a new agreement on strategic partnership.
“It is expected that the mandate will be given to Azerbaijan closer to October, but it is still preliminary date,” added the deputy minister. “Despite this, we are resuming work with the EU within the framework of the existing cooperation mechanism.”
Currently, bilateral relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are regulated on the basis of an agreement on partnership and cooperation that was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999.
The new agreement envisages the approach of Azerbaijan’s legislation and procedures to the most important international trade norms and EU standards, which should lead to an improvement in the access of Azerbaijani goods to EU markets.
Today, the EU is Azerbaijan’s main trade partner.
The share of European countries in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade was 46.96 percent in 2015, according to the country’s State Customs Committee. Currently, the EU countries account for 31.92 and 59.1 percent of Azerbaijan’s import and export respectively. European countries mainly deliver vehicles and transportation equipment to Azerbaijan and import oil products from the country.
Azerbaijan put forward the initiative to conclude an agreement with the EU on strategic modernization partnership instead of the Association Agreement (AA). This document is not legal; this is a program, an action plan, aimed at expanding cooperation with the EU beyond energy. The agreement will define new directions of partnership, such as education and other spheres.