European Commission on Assistance to Civil Society of Azerbaijan

Tallinn / 26.10.17 / Turan: "We want to help the civil society of Azerbaijan more, but there are restrictions in this country," said Johannes Khan, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, speaking today at the civil society conference of the Eastern Partnership countries in Tallinn. Responding a question about journalists and NGO representatives arrested in the country, Khan noted that Brussels is concerned about the fate of those under arrest.

"Sometimes a silent policy and non-advertising of negotiations give more results," he added.

Concerning further support to the civil society of the Eastern Partnership countries, Khan said that according to the plan for 2017-2020, the budget for NGOs will be increased by 20% to 170 million euros.

"An important result of the activities of the Eastern Partnership program is the support of civil society. In general, contacts have been established with more than 600 organizations in six countries over the years, about 100,000 small businesses have been assisted, more than 10,000 new jobs have been opened," Khan said.

Among the achievements of the program, he called the introduction of a visa-free regime with Georgia and Ukraine, which will soon affect Moldova. He also noted the negotiation of new agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan. "We determine the level of our participation is adequate to the situation in each country," Khan said. -71B-

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