European Union External Action


Azerbaijan and the EU

11/05/2016 - 14:26
EU relations with Country

Since 1991, the EU has gradually become closer to Azerbaijan. It wants to build on this by deepening economic integration and increasing political cooperation with the country.

The EU and Azerbaijan have worked together to conclude various political agreements. The most important is the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (1999) which aims at enhancing:

  • trade
  • investment
  • the economy
  • legislation
  • culture.

Azerbaijan is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership initiative.

The country is also a member of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Discussions on updating the legal basis for relations between the EU and Azerbaijan are ongoing.

The EU is a key foreign investor in Azerbaijan. In 2013, its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country came in at €4.7 billion.

The EU also supports closer economic integration with Azerbaijan through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership initiative.

Azerbaijan is receiving technical assistance from the EU to help it become a WTO member.

Through the EU's trade policy, the European Commission aims to secure prosperity, solidarity and security in Europe and around the globe.

The EU promotes world trade and development, thereby boosting competitiveness, jobs and growth in the process. Concretely, the Commission negotiates trade agreements with different countries or groups of countries, ensuring that the rules agreed upon are actually applied, and works closely with the WTO and other global institutions. The aim is to meet the challenges posed by globalisation and to ensure that as many people as possible can seize the opportunities it offers.

EU support to Azerbaijan amounts to around €30 million each year. Non-Government Organisation (NGO) projects under Human Rights, Democratisation and Non-State Actor budget lines (EIDHR and NSA) also get funding.

EU assistance used to focus on humanitarian aid, food security and social protection. But with improved economic and political conditions in the country, there is now more emphasis on the:

  • European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan
  • Non-oil economy
  • Government capacity-building.

Some 40 projects on such issues as human rights defenders and free and fair elections have to date been funded.

EU assistance also comes through other programmes like INOGATE, TRACECA, TEMPUS and ERASMUS MUNDUS.

You can find out more by consulting the full list of projects financed in Azerbaijan.

Civil society and NGOs are vital for democracy and human rights, the rule of law, good governance, the principles of the market economy and sustainable development.

The European Commission has always been keen to promote civil society. It managed to do this in 1999 by holding the first ever Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Brussels.

In Azerbaijan, the EU supports civil society through specific thematic instruments:

A review of the European Neighbourhood Policy resulted in the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility. This Facility has helped civil society promote reform and public accountability among the EU’s neighbours to the East and South.

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