Azerbaijan is interested in developing relations with the European Union (EU) based on an equal partnership. Since 2009, Azerbaijan has been cooperating with the EU as part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) programme in bilateral and multilateral formats. Although bilateral co-operation with the European Union remains a priority, the EaP Multilateral Platform complements the bilateral co-operation agenda with the EU, enabling Azerbaijan to exchange views on issues of common interest, pursue its national interests in the context of regional policy and announce various initiatives.
The EU is Azerbaijan’s main trading partner, and continues to be Azerbaijan’s major export and second biggest import market.
Following the renewal of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU has held talks with Azerbaijan on a new Partnership Priorities document that will replace the ENP Action Plan. On the 11th of July 2018, a ceremony was held in Brussels with the participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to mark the completion of negotiations on the document. The document was endorsed on the recommendation of the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council dated the 28th of September 2018 and entered into force on that date.
Partnership Priorities include cooperation in the following areas.
- Strengthening institutions and good governance
- Economic development and market opportunities
- Connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate activities
- Mobility and people-to-people contacts
In the document, the Parties express their intention to further develop their relations by maintaining territorial integrity, inviolability of international borders, respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty and adherence to the support of these principles.
At present, work is underway to extend the document until 2027.
- Working visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to the Kingdom of Belgium, the 6th of February 2017.
- 5th Eastern Partnership Summit, the 24th of November 2017, Brussels
- A celebratory dinner and high-level conference of the Heads of State of the Eastern Partnership countries, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership programme; the 13th of May 2019, Brussels.
Bilateral documents signed between the EU and Azerbaijan
PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT (PCA)
The agreement was signed in Luxembourg on the 22nd of April 1996 and entered into force on the 1st of July 1999. PCA forms the legal basis for cooperation with the European Union (EU) in all areas except the military, and defines the format of cooperation. PCA was signed for 10 years period and its execution is extended for a period of one year each year as implementation period of the agreement ended in 2009.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE STRATEGIC ENERGY PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN
THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
This MoU was signed in Brussels on the 7th of November 2006. The parties emphasize the importance of ensuring the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the countries in the region, especially in terms of eliminating threats and risks to strengthening European energy security. The document states that cooperation will be implemented in 4 areas:
- Harmonisation of national energy legislation with the EU legislation;
- Enhancing the safety and security of energy supplies and transit systems from Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea basin;
- Development of a comprehensive energy demand management policy on energy saving and climate change goals;
- Technical cooperation and exchange of experience.
JOINT DECLARATION ON THE SOUTHERN GAS CORRIDOR
The Joint Declaration was signed in Baku on the 13th of January 2011. The document assesses Azerbaijan as a major contributor to the southern gas corridor. The parties identify the delivery of existing natural gas resources from the Shah Deniz-2 and other Azerbaijani fields to European markets as a shared strategic goal.
PROTOCOL TO THE PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION AGREEMENT (PCA) ON A FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE PARTICIPATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN IN EU PROGRAMMES
This protocol was signed in Baku on the 14th of June 2014, and allows Azerbaijan to participate in all current and future EU programmes.
VISA FACILITATION AND READMISSION AGREEMENTS
Agreements between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the EU on visa facilitation and readmission of persons residing without authorisation were signed on the 29th of November 2013 and the 28th of February 2014, respectively. Both agreements entered into force on the 1st of September 2014.
JOINT DECLARATION ON A MOBILITY PARTNERSHIP
This joint declaration was signed in Brussels on the 5th of December 2013. The main purpose of the Joint Declaration is to facilitate the movement of people between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the EU, to better manage migration flows in accordance with the applicable international standards and to expand cooperation in combating illegal migration.