Europe in the World

Eastern Promises Project

Azerbaijan-EU relations - Challenges and opportunities

8 February 2016

Azerbaijan’s relationship with the EU has progressed since the early 1990s, with the country being included in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and becoming a member of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The core of the relationship has been on energy, which has strengthened due to Azerbaijan’s role as facilitator of the Southern Gas Corridor. While there is a desire on both sides to broaden the relationship, it has not always been easy due to the EU’s concerns over the pace of political and economic reforms in Azerbaijan, particularly regarding democracy and human rights. Correspondingly, Azerbaijan have had long-running concerns with the EU’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the country’s territorial integrity. Nevertheless, the Azerbaijan-EU relationship is one of importance and interdependence and can go much further than it currently does with further cooperation in many other areas and there is a strong will from both sides to do this. In order to do this, there must be a strengthening of communication of common interests and objectives for both parties.   Currently a scoping exercise is underway for negotiations on a new Strategic Partnership.

The European Policy Centre (EPC) convened this Policy Dialogue with a panel of four experts to explore the main challenges facing the Azerbaijan-EU relationship and where there are opportunities to strengthen and broaden relations.

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