Ilham Aliyev: If They Tell Us They Are Admitting Us to European Union, Do We Need This?

Baku / 24.12.19 / Turan: On Monday, President Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to four pro-government television channels following the results of 2019.

Answering a question about the prospects of European integration, Aliyev said that negotiations are underway to conclude a bilateral agreement with the EU. “This agreement should meet the interests of both parties, otherwise it is not needed,” Aliyev categorically stated. He did not explain exactly what interests were in question, but added that the agreement should be between the "equal" parties and reflect the "national interests" of Azerbaijan.

According to him, 90% of the clauses of the future agreement are agreed upon, while the rest can be agreed upon under the conditions of “good will of the parties”.

According to Aliyev, one of the controversial points concerns the entry of Azerbaijan into the WTO.

 “I believe that the time has not yet come for this,” Aliyev said. The reason is that most of the country's exports are oil and gas, and Azerbaijan must protect its domestic market.

“If we join the WTO, then our industry and agriculture will face big problems. Our market can be filled by a large volume of cheap products,” Aliyev said.

Another reason is the price of energy. It is proposed that the domestic and export gas prices be the same, which is absolutely unrealistic. At present, the domestic gas price for most consumers is around 100 manats, and the export price is several times higher.

“If we start selling gas for export at an internal price of $ 58, this will cause enormous damage to the economy. On the other hand, if we raise the domestic price to 300-400 dollars, this will make gas inaccessible to the population,” Aliyev said.

Without solving these two issues, the agreement will not be signed, Aliyev emphasized.

Answering a question about the prospects of the Eastern Partnership program, Aliyev did not hide his skepticism and the lack of interest in Baku in this program.

According to him, the members of this program, the former Soviet republics, have different foreign and domestic policies, national interests and the level of development.

“How true is it to combine them in one program? Therefore, it is difficult to talk about the future of this program. We are not leaving this program, but we do not intend to actively participate in it,” Aliyev said.

According to him, Azerbaijan proceeds from the fact that relations with European countries can be built on a bilateral basis and there are no restrictions for this.

Asked to explain the reason for criticism of Europe and the refusal of European integration during the speech on the 100th anniversary of Baku State University, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan’s entry into the European Union is "completely impossible." According to him, centrifugal forces have intensified in Europe, and Brexit has appeared. There are no prospects for further enlargement of the European Union.

A number of countries that accepted and complied with the EU conditions are in a difficult situation, but have never been accepted into the organization.

In addition, Europe has a negative attitude towards Muslim countries, which is confirmed by the example of Turkey. “If Turkey is not accepted, will Azerbaijan be accepted?” Aliyev said.

“But even if they tell us that, at such a time, Azerbaijan will be admitted to the European Union, do we need this? Everyone sees what processes are going on in Europe in terms of religion, in the matter of moral values. We must openly say that this does not correspond to our moral values,” Aliyev emphasized, without explaining exactly what he meant.

He further expressed himself more specifically, saying that the fate of Azerbaijan should not be decided in Brussels and Azerbaijan was already a part of empires.

“Why should we again hand over our independence and fall into someone’s subordination? We categorically say no to this,” he concluded. -02D-


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