Historical background to the document "Speech of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in the ceremony of he signature of the agreement on partnership and cooperation with the European Union" (Luxembourg, April 22, 1996)

Active cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union was founded with the signature of the agreement on partnership and cooperation with this organization and the three Caucasian republics including Azerbaijan, on April 22, 1996. According to the agreement elimination of trade barriers, inspiration of investment and protection of all kinds of property rights, negotiations at the level of ministers, parliamentarians and other high-level officials were considered. (http://www.ec.europa.eu/)

During his speech in the ceremony of the signature of the agreement on the same day, the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev called it as a remarkable historical event for Azerbaijan. He said that Azerbaijan attached great importance to cooperation with the European Union and hoped that Europe will take an active participation in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan and the European Union took further steps in the direction of partnership after the Luxembourg agreement which gained force in 1999. Defining directions of cooperation between the parties, the Council of Cooperation meets every year.

The European Union provides realization of TACIS (Technical Assistance for the Community of Independent States), TRASECA (Trans European-Caucasus-Asian Transport Corridor) and INOGATE (Transportation of Gas to Europe) projects in Azerbaijan. From 1991, until today the European Union has contributed ? 333 million aid to Azerbaijan. (http://www.mfa.gov.az/)

The European Union`s special envoy for the Southern Caucasus was appointed in July 2003. His functions are to assist the conduction of political, economical reforms in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. It especially concerns of supremacy of law, efficient management, enhancing of development and poverty reduction, prevention of conflicts in the region according to existing mechanisms and assistance for the return of refugees and IDPs to their own lands and contribution for sustaining of peace, cooperation with neighboring countries etc. (http://www.ec.europa.eu/)

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev continues close partnership policy with the European Union. During his visit to Brussels in May 2004, meetings were held on the enlargement of mutual cooperation. President of the European Commission Romano Prodi said that he was concerned with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which has not been solved yet, and stated that it was necessary to intensify the activity of the OSCE Minsk group to achieve peace. (http://www.rferl.org/)

Azerbaijan and the other two Caucasian Republics were included in to the European Neighborhood Policy of the European Union on the recommendation of the European Commission. This new project envisages more enlargements on economic integration and political cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan. (http://www.ec.europa.eu/)

Visiting Azerbaijan on August of the same year, Romano Prodi said the European Union was ready to assist Azerbaijan in the protection of democracy, supremacy of law and human rights and settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (ibid.,)

In December 2005, a statement from the European Union troika (president of the Council of Europe of the EU, EU representative on foreign policy and security, and president of the EU Commission) said that the text of the Action Plan of the European Neighborhood Policy has been agreed between the organization and Azerbaijan. It was stated that this plan considered more economic integration and political cooperation than a simple cooperation. (http://www.mfa.gov.az/)

Signature of the Action Plan of the European Neighborhood Policy was realized during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev`s following visit to Brussels in November 2006. (http://www.azerbaijan.news.az/)

Historical background was updated on July 3, 2007.


An important document, which raised the relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan onto a qualitatively new stage, was the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed by Heydar Aliyev and presidents of the Southern Caucasian nations on April 22, 1996. A legal basis for mutual relations, an agreement which came into force in 1999, focuses attention on the development of various spheres, including the mutual relations, in political, economic, cultural, and social spheres.

“90 Instants of the Great leader”, Heydar Aliyev Heritage research center, “Sharq-Qarb”, Baku-2013, p.68