Availing itself of the Eastern Partnership tools, Azerbaijan has been successful in strengthening cooperation with EU based on my country's development agenda and priorities, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at fifth meeting of the foreign ministers of member countries of the EU "Eastern Partnership" in Brussels.
He also added, as an active contributor to the implementation of Vilnius Summit Declaration, Azerbaijan made considerable efforts to bring in more of the EU best practices and standards. We acknowledged the mobility of our citizens in a well-managed and secure environment as an important element of the Eastern Partnership and, therefore, we signed Mobility Partnership, Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements. The last two agreements due to enter into force in the coming months will promote business and cultural contacts between our citizens, as well as help efficiently address migration issues.
"Another remarkable development in our Euro-integration process has been the signature of the Protocol on Azerbaijan's participation in EU programs, which was inked during the June visit of Mr. Jose Manuel Barrosso, President of the European Commission, to Azerbaijan. This framework document will give Azerbaijani institutions and citizens a greater access to EU programs ranging from education and research to culture, arts and science. We look forward to increasing cooperation between Azerbaijani institutions and relevant EU agencies in capacity building and promoting exchange of expertise in key domains", minister said.
Minister added that Azerbaijan is planning to host a high-level Ministerial Conference on the neighborhood policy of the Council of Europe in Baku in November 2014.
"As a country located at the crossroads of two continents, which enjoys strong historical relations with European and Asian countries, Azerbaijan intends to support Europe's endeavours to ensure more secure and prosperous neighbourhood. The Conference will provide a valuable forum for exploring the avenues for a long-term engagement with the countries covered by the neighbourhood policy through strengthened political dialogue", Mammadyarov said.
According to him, another important event that the Azerbaijani chairmanship intends to organise within the EU - Council of Europe cooperation is the celebration event of the European Heritage Days, which is the joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The event scheduled for early October in Baku is meant to give additional impetus to the objectives of the Heritage Days and raise further awareness of the need and importance to protect cultural heritage.
"Speaking about the upcoming future, I would like to inform you that Azerbaijan will be glad to host the next informal meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Energy of the Eastern Partnership in Baku on 8-9 September of this year", minister said.