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Azerbaijan ahead of the parliamentary elections

06-02-2020

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country in the southern Caucasus. Part of the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijan has attempted to keep a pragmatic balance between the European Union (EU) and Russia. Rich in oil and natural gas, Baku's poor human rights record and consistent failure to hold free and fair elections have continued to hamper its ties with the EU. The 9 February 2020 snap elections in the wake of abrupt top-down reforms in late 2019 are not expected to substantially change the country's leadership ...

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country in the southern Caucasus. Part of the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijan has attempted to keep a pragmatic balance between the European Union (EU) and Russia. Rich in oil and natural gas, Baku's poor human rights record and consistent failure to hold free and fair elections have continued to hamper its ties with the EU. The 9 February 2020 snap elections in the wake of abrupt top-down reforms in late 2019 are not expected to substantially change the country's leadership or its overall (geo-)political orientation.

EU-Eastern Partnership people-to-people contacts

25-03-2019

In 2009, the EU launched its Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative with the ambition to promote closer cooperation with six of its eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Support for people-to-people contacts is a key element of the EU's EaP strategy, and is extended through programmes in the areas of movement of persons, education and peace-building.

In 2009, the EU launched its Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative with the ambition to promote closer cooperation with six of its eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Support for people-to-people contacts is a key element of the EU's EaP strategy, and is extended through programmes in the areas of movement of persons, education and peace-building.

EU-Azerbaijan people-to-people contacts

19-03-2019

The European Union and Azerbaijan are negotiating a comprehensive agreement in order to reinforce their partnership. Even if Azerbaijan is geographically the most distant Eastern Partnership country, the EU remains its main trading partner. In 2019, the EU and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 20th anniversary since their partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) entered into force in 1999. In recent years, EU support for civil society in Azerbaijan has been made more difficult by a new legal framework ...

The European Union and Azerbaijan are negotiating a comprehensive agreement in order to reinforce their partnership. Even if Azerbaijan is geographically the most distant Eastern Partnership country, the EU remains its main trading partner. In 2019, the EU and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 20th anniversary since their partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA) entered into force in 1999. In recent years, EU support for civil society in Azerbaijan has been made more difficult by a new legal framework against foreign-funded NGOs.

Euronest 2018: Way forward after the Eastern Partnership summit

17-07-2018

The European Parliament regularly hosts the Euronest parliamentary assembly of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Launched in 2011, the EaP is composed of the EU and its Member States, together with six of their eastern European neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. During their Riga summit in 2015, the partners in the EaP decided to focus on four areas: economic development and market opportunities; institutional capacity and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency ...

The European Parliament regularly hosts the Euronest parliamentary assembly of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Launched in 2011, the EaP is composed of the EU and its Member States, together with six of their eastern European neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. During their Riga summit in 2015, the partners in the EaP decided to focus on four areas: economic development and market opportunities; institutional capacity and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate change; mobility and people-to-people contacts. Before the EaP's 2017 Brussels summit, the European Commission and the European External Action Service published '20 deliverables for 2020', a series of specific objectives that are being piloted by various partners and have to be achieved by the EaP countries by 2020. To facilitate this task, the two institutions also proposed to streamline the structure of the EaP, which the Brussels summit endorsed. In June 2018, the Euronest meeting in Brussels adopted a number of resolutions on the EU’s mediation in frozen conflicts, on foreign direct investment and on undeclared labour. It also called for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

Foreign Direct Investment in the EU and the Eastern Partnership Countries

05-02-2018

Upon request of the Euronest parliamentary assembly economic committee, investment patterns and policies in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries were compared. The EU is an investment heavyweight, both in terms of attracting as placing foreign direct investment. Many EU Member States protect their investment abroad and some have screening mechanisms for incoming investment. The Eastern Partnership countries are minor investors themselves, but keep attracting a slowly growing level of foreign ...

Upon request of the Euronest parliamentary assembly economic committee, investment patterns and policies in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries were compared. The EU is an investment heavyweight, both in terms of attracting as placing foreign direct investment. Many EU Member States protect their investment abroad and some have screening mechanisms for incoming investment. The Eastern Partnership countries are minor investors themselves, but keep attracting a slowly growing level of foreign direct investment. Investment is supported by the European Investment Bank, the EBRD or the World Bank. Looking at which countries invest in which Eastern Partnership country, it appears that each of them has one main investing country, suggesting a preferred relationship, which would need further research to explain.

Russia in the southern Caucasus

18-01-2018

Armenia is a Russian ally, Georgia has chosen a pro-Western course, while Azerbaijan has kept its distance from both sides. Despite these differences, Russia has significant economic interests in all three Caucasian countries and enjoys considerable soft power.

Armenia is a Russian ally, Georgia has chosen a pro-Western course, while Azerbaijan has kept its distance from both sides. Despite these differences, Russia has significant economic interests in all three Caucasian countries and enjoys considerable soft power.

EU relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan

30-10-2017

The EU is currently reshaping its relationship with Armenia and Azerbaijan through new agreements for which the negotiations ended (Armenia) or started (Azerbaijan) in February 2017. After Yerevan’s decision to join the EAEU (thereby renouncing to sign an AA/DCFTA), the initialling of the CEPA provides a new impetus to EU-Armenia relations. It highlights Armenia’s lingering interest in developing closer ties with the EU and provides a vivid illustration of the EU’s readiness to respond to EaP countries ...

The EU is currently reshaping its relationship with Armenia and Azerbaijan through new agreements for which the negotiations ended (Armenia) or started (Azerbaijan) in February 2017. After Yerevan’s decision to join the EAEU (thereby renouncing to sign an AA/DCFTA), the initialling of the CEPA provides a new impetus to EU-Armenia relations. It highlights Armenia’s lingering interest in developing closer ties with the EU and provides a vivid illustration of the EU’s readiness to respond to EaP countries’ specific needs and circumstances. The CEPA is also a clear indication that the EU has not engaged in a zero-sum game with Russia and is willing to exploit any opportunity to further its links with EaP countries. The launch of negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement – in spite of serious political and human rights problems in the country – results from several intertwined factors, including the EU’s energy security needs and Baku’s increasing bargaining power. At this stage, Azerbaijan is interested only in forms of cooperation that are not challenging the political status quo. However, the decline in both world oil prices and domestic oil production in this country is creating bargaining opportunities for the EU in what promises to be a difficult negotiation.

Externí autor

Leila ALIEVA, Senior Common Room Member at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford Laure DELCOUR Research Fellow, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH); Hrant KOSTANYAN, Researcher, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Media freedom trends 2017: Eastern Partnership countries

03-05-2017

Media freedom is a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy. That makes it a key part of the overall set of democratic and legal reforms being implemented by the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. As such, it is high on the agenda in political dialogue between the EU and these former Soviet states. Since the 2015 Eastern Partnership Media Conference highlighted media freedom in the EaP countries and options for EU engagement, international rankings assessing the levels of media freedom ...

Media freedom is a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy. That makes it a key part of the overall set of democratic and legal reforms being implemented by the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. As such, it is high on the agenda in political dialogue between the EU and these former Soviet states. Since the 2015 Eastern Partnership Media Conference highlighted media freedom in the EaP countries and options for EU engagement, international rankings assessing the levels of media freedom in most EaP countries have seen limited changes. Whereas Ukraine has made progress, despite the on-going crisis in the country, Moldova — former 'poster child' of the international media freedom rankings — has slipped downwards over recent years. In both countries, the Kremlin's increasing information activities present a difficult challenge to media freedom policies. Sustainable changes in media freedom do not happen overnight. Nevertheless, beneath the surface, EU-funded projects and programmes are helping to change the media landscape. The European Parliament (EP) has also been consistent in promoting and supporting press freedom and freedom of expression in the region.

Azerbaijan: Geopolitics and challenging dialogue

10-04-2017

Azerbaijan lies in the South Caucasus, a key region where Turkey, Russia and Iran compete for influence. The country is facing complex territorial issues, with the secessionist region of Nagorny Karabakh being the subject of an unresolved conflict with Armenia. This conflict remains Azerbaijan's top foreign and domestic policy priority and is an essential part of its balanced attitude both towards key regional powers and the EU. The country's neutral geopolitical orientation is supported by its vast ...

Azerbaijan lies in the South Caucasus, a key region where Turkey, Russia and Iran compete for influence. The country is facing complex territorial issues, with the secessionist region of Nagorny Karabakh being the subject of an unresolved conflict with Armenia. This conflict remains Azerbaijan's top foreign and domestic policy priority and is an essential part of its balanced attitude both towards key regional powers and the EU. The country's neutral geopolitical orientation is supported by its vast energy reserves, which make it an important producer, and transit country for gas and oil from Central Asia to the EU. For many years, this wealth helped sustain vigorous economic growth, yet recently there has been a persistent slowdown which has revealed the need to diversify the economy and invest in non-energy sectors. Azerbaijan has a vibrant secular Muslim society and its political apparatus is often criticised for the concentration of power in President Aliyev. The European Parliament has repeatedly denounced the situation of political prisoners; negotiations for a new comprehensive agreement were launched on 7 February 2017 following the release of some key prisoners in recent months.