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Brussels, 5 June 2013
Azerbaijan: with parliament speaker on shared ambitions for a successful Vilnius Summit
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met Oktay Sabir Asadov, Chairman of the Milli Majlis, the parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Brussels today.
They both agreed on the importance of strengthening the parliamentary dimension of EU-Azerbaijan relations, in the context of developing a long-term partnership based on political association. They also discussed ways of enhancing the capacity of the Milli Majlis, building on support already provided by the EU.
Commissioner Füle and Chairman Asadov reviewed recent developments in Azerbaijan, covering issues including human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms, energy policy as well as a number of initiatives and policies under the Eastern Partnership.
They talked about the shared ambition of Azerbaijan and the EU to turn the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November into a success for the bilateral relations, making sure there is a chance to move it forward in a number of sectors, together with the progress in the area of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context Commissioner Füle expressed concerns about the final adoption of the amendments to the Criminal Code establishing punitive measures against slander and insult on the internet, stating that freedom of expression including over the internet must be enhanced and not limited.
In the meeting, the Commissioner stressed that the October Presidential election in Azerbaijan will be an important test for the country's democratic development and that safeguarding the space for a pluralistic exchange of opinions was essential.