Azerbaijan plays key role as bridge between cultures, says Kestutis Jankauskas
“Azerbaijan has been providing stability in a complex region for years, it plays a key role as a bridge between cultures with its strong traditions of secularism, tolerance and multiculturalism”, Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan said in his exclusive interview with AzVision.az.
– Mr. Jankauskas, Azerbaijan and the EU are expected to complete negotiations on comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement with EU in 2018. Can you elaborate on what kind of benefits this agreement with the EU will bring Azerbaijan?
– The EU and Azerbaijan currently base their relations on the Partnership and Cooperation agreement, which was signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999. This agreement is more than 20 years old and. Since then, both the EU and Azerbaijan have developed substantively, as have our relations. So, the legal and political basis for our partnership should be renewed to reflect current realities.
Our negotiations currently proceed in three different strands: (a) political and security, (b) trade and (c) sectorial.
The EU is Azerbaijan’s largest economic partner representing 48.6% of its foreign trade. The EU is also the largest foreign direct investor in Azerbaijan in both oil and non-oil sectors. In 2016, Azerbaijan embarked on major economic diversification program and is keen to benefit from European knowledge, management experience and technologies. The EU Delegation is coordinating large assistance portfolio aiming to improve education, public finances, statistics, agriculture, justice, vocational education training and many other areas. Continue Reading