The European Union will start negotiations with Azerbaijan on a comprhensive agreement which will form a contractual arrangement between the two sides.
On Monday, (14 November 2016), the Council of the European Union adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
A statement by the Council said that "the new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today. It will follow the principles endorsed in the 2015 review of the European neighbourhood policy and offer a renewed basis for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan".
The decision has been welcomed by Azerbaijan. Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, told reporters "the signing of a new agreement will create a substantial framework for the EU-Azerbaijan strategic cooperation to enter a new stage and bilateral ties to develop comprehensively".
The president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker led dignitaries from a number of countries attending the celebrations