More than 90 percent of the text of the new EU-Azerbaijan trade and political agreement deal is already agreed, it has been revealed.
The news, which emerged from this week’s Azerbaijan-EU Cooperation Council in Brussels, coincides with publication of a new survey by a French pollster showing that over 85% of those polled appraised Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev activities as “positive”.
The findings are timely as they come as Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov addressed a press conference following the meeting of the Azerbaijan-EU Cooperation Council this week.
Speaking at the same Brussels briefing, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said that Azerbaijan was an important partner for the EU, and its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity is fully supported by the EU.
The new agreement aims to replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and seeks to take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.
The survey, by French research company Opinionway, was published one year after presidential elections in Azerbaijan. It found that Azerbaijanis strongly endorse key actions by President Aliyev.
“The survey clearly shows that Azerbaijanis are happy with their political leadership,” said Bruno Jeanbart, Deputy CEO of Opinionway. “A year after his re-election, the perception of President Aliyev’s foreign and domestic policies, on stability, reforms and regional development is very positive,” he said at a press conference in Baku.
More than 80% of those surveyed attribute the “stability in the country” as the “success of the activities of President Aliyev.” Over 58% approve of the “strengthening of the country’s defence capability and army.”
Expressing their attitude towards Aliyev’s foreign policy, nearly 74% of respondents have rated it as “excellent”. On the issue of “strengthening Azerbaijan’s reputation in the international arena and achievements in foreign policy” nearly half of the people surveyed stated their approval.
On the domestic front too, the president fared well. 64% “have approved” his economic reforms and over 57% say the “population’s welfare has gotten better, salaries, pensions and allowances have increased”. 52% believe accessibility of education and healthcare has improved and 45.3 % are satisfied with the fight against corruption.
The “development of sport” also received wide-ranging support by Azerbaijanis, with 61.4% calling it a success. Azerbaijan has increasingly positioned itself on the sports map, hosting prestigious events such as Formula 1 racing, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the European Games.
Asked if Aliyev’s pre-electoral promises have been fulfilled, over three-quarters of respondent said that either “most” or “all” of the promises had been fulfilled.
Additional data showed that over 72% of respondents think that the regions have been developed as a result of the State Program on Socio-Economic Development of Regions, adopted by President Aliyev, and thanks to his attention to the regions.
The survey was based on interviews with 2,000 respondents that were randomly selected in the country in March.