Areas of Focus
Given its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, a strong Azerbaijani-EU relationship is an important goal for both sides. Just as the Azerbaijani government has made it a top foreign policy priority, a number of EU member-states have worked to develop strong political and economic relations with Azerbaijan.
Relations between the two began with the EU’s TACIS program, which provided support for the Commonwealth of Independent States countries after the break-up of the Soviet Union. A partnership and Cooperation agreement entered into force in 1999 and, in 2003, Azerbaijan was brought into its European Neighborhood Policy. More recently, Azerbaijan’s participation in the Eastern Partnership has enabled it to take part in an institutionalized forum for discussing visa agreements, free trade deals and strategic partnership agreements with the EU.
The largest driving force behind the relationship, however, is Azerbaijan’s emerging importance as an energy supplier to the EU. While cooperation has occurred on a number of projects in the past, it’s Azerbaijan’s role in the Nabucco gas pipeline – intended to lessen the EU’s reliance on Russia – which has raised its significance to Europe as a strategic partner.
Role of the Alliance
While primarily focused on US-Azerbaijani relations, the Alliance supports the development of closer ties between the EU and Azerbaijan. In the coming months, we will be working with likeminded diaspora groups in Europe to find areas of cooperation which can advance our shared ambitions.