The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Azerbaijan, going beyond co-operation, toward gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation. The relations between Azerbaijan and the EU date back to the early 1990's and the support the European Commission extended to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (TACIS programme). A Partnership and Cooperation Agreement entered into force in 1999 and, in 2003, the EU engaged further with Azerbaijan through its European Neighbourhood Policy. In May 2009, a further step was taken with the participation of Azerbaijan to the Eastern Partnership.
Since 1999, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) has provided the legal framework for EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, and economic, legislative, and cultural cooperation. A number of joint institutions were set up under the agreement:
In 2013 three agreements (a Visa Facilitation Agreement, a Readmission Agreement, and a Mobility Partnership) were concluded which will make it easier for people to travel between Azerbaijan and the EU; they will also help to manage legal and irregular migration.
With the inclusion of the countries of the South Caucasus into the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004, the EU decided to extend its cooperation with Azerbaijan beyond the 1999 PCA. An ENP Action Planwas adopted in 2006 which focused on:
Also in 2006, the EU and Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of energy. This was a crucial step in strengthening the EU’s energy relations with Azerbaijan, while also helping the country to reform and modernise its domestic energy sector.In 2010, the EU and Azerbaijan began negotiations on an Association Agreement