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Luxembourg, 10 October 200012013/00 (Presse 365)


The Cooperation Council between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan held its second meeting on Tuesday 10 October 2000. The meeting was chaired by Mr Vilayat GULIYEV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Mr Pierre MOSCOVICI, French Minister for European Affairs and President-in-Office of the Council of the European Union headed the European Union Delegation. Ms Anna LINDH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden participated. The European Commission was represented by M. Fernando VALENZUELA, Deputy Director General.

The second meeting of the Cooperation Council marks a further intensification of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. The Parties noted with satisfaction that all the institutions of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), in particular the Co-operation Committee and its sub-committee, have been established and have held their first meetings. This provides a solid basis for developing a strong political and economic partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan.

The EU welcomed the changes that have been introduced into Azerbaijan's electoral laws, and the recent decisions regarding the registration of the political parties.

The European Union took note of the announcement of Azerbaijan that it was implementing fully ODIHR's recommendations and of its intention to fulfil commitments necessary for Council of Europe membership. A key area here is the independence of the media. The EU will use its instruments to support Azerbaijan's efforts to reach this objective, but it reiterates its view that full normalisation of political life will be impossible without a resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan will pursue administrative reforms, including a clear separation between commercial and regulatory activities, and more transparent systems for revenue collection. At the same time, the EU will support Azerbaijan's efforts to reform the judiciary, and to enhance its ability to act as an impartial and effective means of recourse. Azerbaijan will take active steps to improve its attractiveness for foreign capital and know-how, especially in the agricultural and service sectors. High level dialogue between the government and European investors will be re-launched. Azerbaijan will expedite negotiations on accession to WTO and to international conventions on the protection of intellectual property and will identify quickly the priorities for its legislative approximation programme. The EU will continue to give priority to those projects which can actively support peace-and-confidencebuilding, as foreseen in the Joint Declaration.

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