Azerbaijan: New horizons for the Partnership. Jerzy Buzek MEP and Monica Macovei MEP
At the initiative of Monica Macovei MEP, the EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur for the Association Agreement with Azerbaijan, the EPP Group in the European Parliament held a conference on "EU-Azerbaijan relations: New Horizons for the Partnership" with special guests Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, and Philippe Lefort, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Wilfred Martens, President of the European People's Party.
The first part of the conference, "How to further develop EU-Azerbaijan relations", was chaired by Jerzy Buzek, former President of the European Parliament and Member of Foreign Affairs Committee. "For the EU, Azerbaijan is more than just a key partner. For us, it is a bridge between Europe and Asia. And for much of the world, it stands as a gateway to Europe. Our partnership rests on a concrete foundation - close historic and cultural heritage, legacy of democratic values, as well as our joint engagement in ensuring global security and stability. Our economic cooperation offers enormous potential, particularly in the area of developing sustainable energy policy and assuring security of energy supplies. Azerbaijan must be a key strategic partner for our European Energy Community," highlighted Jerzy Buzek MEP.
President of the European People's Party, Wilfried Martens reminded all present of the European dimension of Azerbaijan and highlighted Azerbaijan's rich history. However, he emphasised that mutual relations are not only exchange of goods or energy resources; they also have to go hand in hand with real political cooperation. The EU has a strong interest in developing a politically stable and economically prosperous Southern Caucasus region.
As a conclusion for the first panel, Monica Macovei MEP, stated: "Azerbaijan is the fastest developing economy in the world and has made clear its intention of building democracy. The political reforms it has conducted are worth appreciating. While we understand that the country has only been independent for 20 years, we expect more in the field of implementation. This is where the European Union is ready to assist. The Association Agreement with the EU is being negotiated and we look forward to the launching of the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement as soon as Azerbaijan joins the WTO. We also expect the negotiations on the visa facilitation and re-admission agreements to start and swiftly reach a positive outcome."
For more information on the Conference, click on the banner below.
For further information:
Jerzy Buzek MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845631
Monica Macovei MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845225
Kostas Sasmatzoglou, EPP Spokesman, Tel. +32-2-2854147
Agata Byczewska, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Tel: +32-473-841093
Eugen Sandu, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-472-547584
Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 271 Members.