Baku, 18 July 2022 (TDI): The President of the European Union (EU) Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson are visiting Azerbaijan today.

The visit by the EU officials to Azerbaijan involves strengthening the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation, including energy cooperation.

Upon arrival, Commissioner Simson is expected to meet the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Therefore, following the meeting, President von der Leyen and President Aliyev will have a joint press meeting.

Previous Meetings

Recently, on July 13, the Director for the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Institution Building, Lawrence Meredith met with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economу, Mikayil Jabbarov.

They discussed on strategic alignment of priority areas. As well as the need to move forward on implementation, working closely with European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Also, they held a discussion about the creation of a working group in the field of investment identification. Together with investment opportunities and potential projects in the private and public sectors.

Furthermore, on May 22 this year, the EU Council President, Charles Michel held a trilateral meeting with President Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan.

Consequently, President Michel made a press statement and stated that this was their third discussion in such a format.

Thus, their discussions focused on the situation within the South Caucasus and the development of EU relations with both countries and the broader region.

Michel highlighted that they reviewed the whole set of issues and had a detailed discussion on humanitarian issues. That is, including demining, and efforts to free detainees and address the fate of missing persons.

Most importantly, the President of the EU Council mentioned that they agreed to remain in close contact and that they will meet as well in the same format by July or August.

EU-Azerbaijan Relations

Azerbaijan’s interest in developing relations with the EU is based on an equal partnership.  Since 2009, Azerbaijan continue cooperating with the EU. Especially as part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) programme in bilateral and multilateral formats.

Notably, the EU is Azerbaijan’s main trading partner. In addition, the EU continues to be Azerbaijan’s major export and second biggest import market.

Moreover, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two parties based on strategic energy cooperation, in 2006.

Both sides emphasized the importance of ensuring the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the countries in the region. Especially with regards to eliminating threats and risks to strengthening European energy security.

Furthermore, a joint declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor was also signed in Baku in 2011. The document assessed Azerbaijan as a significant contributor to the southern gas corridor.

In line with this declaration, the parties identified the delivery of existing natural gas resources from the Shah Deniz-2. As well as other Azerbaijani fields to European markets as a shared strategic goal.