“From what I know the negotiations are still on. As you know there has been some time when we have tried you know to finish this negotiating just before the mandate of the previous commission. But this was not possible. So, we hope the new set up we are going to finalize this agreement. I think we have covered a lot of space up to our final destination. And I hope that we can finalize all the pending issues like the for instance in the area of the trade which is the most important chapter I think which is open,” Vassilis Maragos, Head of Unit, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, told APA’s Georgian bureau.
“When there is a negotiating it is obvious that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So, I think that until the negotiating is finalized, we cannot really comment on the pending issues but from my knowledge on the understanding of the negotiating process I believe that we have done a lot so far and there are very few items that which we have to agree. As I mentioned mainly trade issues, there are some others also cooperation issues. What is really important is that this agreement is equally ambitious for both sides. That it creates better conditions, for our mutual benefit. Both on the economic side but also on the political side. And that we can demonstrate to the citizens both of the EU but also mainly Azerbaijan this can deliver very concrete results for them. Here it is not about that disagreement, but it is mainly about how we can find an agreement which will be equally satisfactory for both sides. From our side, we are ready to discuss these issues very-very fast and we hope that on the Azerbaijani side there will be readiness. But on the other side, we don’t want to push when there is no full understanding and full maturity. But it is important that sides take their time but not too long. So, I think it is important we don’t wait too long because we have to demonstrate there is an expectation, we have to demonstrate that we are ready to advance our partnership to a higher scale, a higher level of engagement and cooperation and we both deserve that,” Vassilis Maragos stated.
The head of the Unit spoke about the projects being implemented in Azerbaijan: “In Azerbaijan, for a long time, we have been focusing a cooperating with a lot of issues that affected daily life of people mainly vacation education and training which affects young people, including in the regions. And also, economic diversification of Azerbaijan. And we have done a lot in these two areas. I believe these two areas will continue to be in the focus of our cooperation. We are going now to start a new project in Lankaran the EU for Lankaran action. Which is focusing very much on agricultural development in the country. And we will continue our engagement in education. We would like to do more in areas that affect the good governance, rule of law, justice reform because this is something that may have an impact on the way the state is operating and delivering to citizen’s concrete services. So, these are the other areas where we can discuss it with our partners. as you know recently, we have finalized negotiating on the partnership priorities. PP is a good base to have broader cooperation in. other areas which have to for instance transport, with energy efficiency, with civil society engagement as I mentioned and we can bring very additional benefits. I would like also to mention that Azerbaijan recently jointed Eastern Europe Energy efficiency environmental partnership. This is a very important find which is producing very concrete projects. In particular at the municipal level. This is important for bringing actions not on the level of the energy efficiency which is important for the bills which are paid by the citizens, but also as regards sustainable energy, use of renewable energy and also action, joint effort to address climate change. This is going to be very-very important. We are also ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan as you know in areas which have to do with transport, connectivity, we have launched the transport dialogue recently. It is we are ready to engage with your authorities but also with the private sector to see how we can do more in this area in line with a tentative extended action plan with investments.”
V. Maragos stated that they are looking forward to co-operating with the new parliament, with the new administration in Azerbaijan: “So that we can advance our cooperation as fast as possible.”