The fourth meeting of the Azerbaijan State Commission for European Integration was held on August 24, the Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry reported.
During the meeting the parties discussed the current conditions and perspectives of developing the relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union (EU).
Addressing the gathering Economic Development Minister, chairman of State Commission for European Integration Shahin Mustafayev said that the strategy of multilateral development, successfully carried out by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, has provided social-economic development of the country and increased its economic power for a short period.
According to him, thanks to this strategy, Azerbaijan got integrated in the system of international economy.
Mustafayev went on to say that political and macroeconomic stability, democratic and independent society, respect to human rights and freedoms as well as successful national model of social-economic development turned Azerbaijan into a reliable partner in the field of international relations.
According to him, one of the main directions of Azerbaijan's foreign policy is the establishment and development of permanent and fruitful relations with the EU. The basis of these relations was founded in 1999 with signing of Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as well as joining of Azerbaijan to the European neighborhood policy.
The minister also noted that the action plan adopted in 2006 within this policy, the Eastern partnership initiative, joined by Azerbaijan as well as agreements on cooperation in the energy field created ground for development of bilateral and multilateral relations with the EU.
The EU is the main trade partner of Azerbaijan. Last year the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the EU exceeded 41 percent of the total share of trade, while it amounted to 43.7 percent in the first half year of 2013.
Main share of investments by the EU countries in the main capital and oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan amounted to 51 and 36.5 percent respectively in last 10 years.
Azerbaijan has signed an agreement of avoidance of double taxation with 20 EU countries, and an agreement on mutual preservation and promotion of investment with 17 EU countries. Furthermore, the country has established intergovernmental commission jointly with 13 EU countries, Mustafayev said.
Impetuous development of Azerbaijan has created conditions for making investment in various European countries. Currently Azerbaijan plays important role in providing energy security of Europe and the Trans - Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is a wonderful example of strategic partnership in the energy field.
Furthermore, Mustafayev said that Azerbaijan and the EU has wide range of opportunities to discuss perspective of future cooperation. Permanent meetings are being held within the various platforms and panels of Eastern partnership initiative, agreement on partnership and cooperation, cooperation council, interparliamentary committee on cooperation, Euronest and other bodies.
The current status of European neighborhood policy and Eastern partnership initiative, possibilities of legal, political, economic, trade, social and religious cooperation as well as EU's various assistance programs are under discussion.
Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev and deputy head of Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Novruz Mammadov also made speeches at the meeting.
The meeting adopted appropriate decisions on an action plan to bring the Azerbaijani legislation in accordance with the EU legislation and improvement of the work of the State Commission for European Integration.
Recall, in 2009, the EU passed a decision to sanction negotiations on the conclusion of bilateral association agreements of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia with the organization. The negotiations on the Association Agreement started in July 2010.
The Association Agreement covers four areas - political dialogue, including issues of security, justice and human rights, economic, social and humanitarian issues, and trade. Negotiations are conducted regarding all these areas.
The Eastern Partnership initiative was adopted at the initiative of Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008.
The purpose of the program is the convergence of the EU with Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. The program provides for a significant increase in the level of political interaction, broad integration of the former Soviet republics into the EU economy, increasing the amount of financial assistance to these countries and strengthening energy security.