The European Union is chipping in €13.5 million ($15.7 million) to support reforms in Azerbaijan’s economic, financial and judicial spheres, through the framework of the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), which provides monetary assistance to non-EU states.
The financing agreement was signed on October 25 by Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister, Shahin Mustafayev, and the head of the European Commission’s delegation to Azerbaijan, Kestutis Jankauskas.
EU assistance to Azerbaijan is mostly in the form of country Action Programmes, funded each year under the ENI. ENI replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which lasted from 2007 to 2013, and is funded with over €15 billion ($17.5 billion) in capital allocated to it. It runs from 2014-2020.
In 2014, during the ENI’s first year, the EU committed to Azerbaijan €21 million ($24 million) for education and civil society programs. Total contributions by ENI to Azerbaijan stand at somewhere between €77 million and €94 million ($90 - $109 million) over the last three years. The actual, finalized amount depends upon Azerbaijan’s needs and commitment to reforms.
Bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU is significant, because the EU remains Azerbaijan’s largest trading partner, registering at over 50 percent of the country’s total export volume. Exports are mostly destined for Italy, which absorbs around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s goods. Other European markets include Germany (10.5 percent) and France (eight percent).
The EU countries’ share in total foreign capital investments in Azerbaijan were 46 percent in the last 10 years, and 35 percent of direct investments were in the non-oil sector.