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Today Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, is in Baku to attend the EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum.
The annual EU flagship EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum event brings together the public and private sector: hundreds of government and – above all – business leaders from the EU and Azerbaijan, who share the goal of boosting business ties.The Business Forum looks to attract representatives of both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and big companies.
Commissioner Hahn will deliver a keynote speech at the opening session of the Business Forum, alongside a number of other high-level government representatives from the EU and Azerbaijan. Hahn will reiterate the EU's firm commitment to stand by the side of Azerbaijan in the endeavour to further diversify the Azerbaijani economy.
Speaking ahead of the business event, Commissioner Hahnsaid: "The Business Forum is a very useful platform to promote a business-friendly environment in which the cooperation between EU and Azerbaijani companies can prosper. It is important to hear the views of all business representatives, from the EU and Azerbaijan, to find out where they see bottlenecks and opportunities. I am confident that once the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement is in place, this will also help increase economic opportunities".
During the Business Forum, the EU-supported 'EU Business Climate Report Azerbaijan 2019', will be presented by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK), theoutcomes of which will serve as a starting point for vivid discussions towards a favourable climate for EU-Azerbaijan business relations. Exchanges on sector-specific strategies and projects will take place during panel discussions on Connectivity, Agriculture, and Tourism.
Besides attending the EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum, Commissioner Hahn will also meet with President IlhamAliyev as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs ElmarMammadyarov to discuss broadly EU-Azerbaijan relations. The EU is a key partner in connectivity, youth and education and the visit will also touch on these issues. Commissioner Hahn will discuss Azerbaijan’s ambitions to transform itself into a transport and logistics hub in a meeting with the Port of Baku. EU support to youth and society will be highlighted during a visit to an EU funded project implemented by UNICEF supporting disabled children develop their potential through sports as well as through meeting young people, including the Young European Ambassadors, to share views on the EU-Azerbaijan relations.
The EU is Azerbaijan's first economic partner, representing the majority of its trade and foreign direct investments. Over400 EU companies are currently active in Azerbaijan. The annual EU-funded EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum is a debating and networking platform, which aims to discuss current economic and business developments in Azerbaijan and to expand EU-Azerbaijan business relations. The EU-Azerbaijan Business Forum is organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan, in collaboration with the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO). The upcoming Business Forum will be the fifth edition.
Overall, EU-Azerbaijan cooperation has intensified. The Partnership Priorities, endorsed in September 2018, frame our cooperation until 2020, and the negotiations of the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement are in the final phase. EU bilateral assistance to Azerbaijan is estimated to amount to € 106 million in the period 2014-2020, with a focus on supporting Azerbaijan’s economic diversification efforts, notably in the key areas of agriculture and rural development as well as education. New planned EU assistance will support the implementation of the Partnership Priorities.
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