Baku. 16 May. REPORT.AZ/ Report interview with former member of the Luxembourg Deputies' Chamber, lawyer Jacques Yves Henckes.
- How would you characterize the current level of relation in all areas between Azerbaijan and Europe, as well as the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg?
What are the shortcomings?
Azerbaijan is a key partner for the European Union and also for Luxembourg. I want to point out that CARGOLUX the Luxembourgish airfreight carrier which organizes daily flights between Baku and Luxembourg and Luxembourg and Azerbaijan have a good double tax treaty.
Almost 50% of our trade is with the member countries. During the period of independence, the European Union invested more than 20 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. It shows that we have a good investment climate. European companies are willing to invest a lot of money to support our economy. At the same time, we are actively developing our bilateral relations with the Member States. Azerbaijan has adopted strategic partnership declarations with nine EU member states. This means that one third of the Member States of the European Union regard Azerbaijan as a strategic partner
I am delighted to see the Azerbaijani authorities are responding strongly and positively to the Union’s vision as set out in its European Neighbourhood Policy.
Azerbaijan will have to intensify its work towards the WTO accession, which is a precondition to further advance our trade relations by eventually establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
Azerbaijan is currently following the path that leads to economic development and thus to lay down the fundamentals to increase the prosperity of Azerbaijani citizens. All economic indicators are getting better every year, thanks to the national leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham ALIYEV, who contributes to these outstanding results and who continues the work initiated by his father Heydar ALIYEV.
- In these latter days some circles in Europe, as well as European organizations, are making biased statements against Azerbaijan. How do you think is the source of such statements? In general, what are your proposals for development of political relations? What is the role of Azerbaijanis living in Europe?
In all democracies as well as in Azerbaijan the opposition parties criticise the government. Some countries and also Azerbaijan have different political views so the debates are very often heavy.
Especially Armenia and its allies i.e. several countries and organisations criticise Azerbaijan. But they avoid discussions about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. One million people suffer from the occupation of their land by foreign forces. International law, Justice is on the side of Azerbaijan.
But the prolonged continuation of the present situation could lead to a “fait accompli” that would seriously complicate the peace process. I hope therefore that the undergoing diplomatic efforts will be fruitful and that the United Nations will help as mediators in the conflict settlement.
I am also certain that the Luxembourg government will also be willing to give you all necessary support to reach a peace agreement.
To positively develop political relations I think that visits of parliamentary delegations between Luxembourg but also of the other European parliaments and the Azerbaijan Parliament are important to develop better relations and a better understanding.
The Congress of European Azerbaijanis and its President Mr Gasimov, has initiated direct relationships with the European political elite.
Mr Gasimov and I organised a high-level meeting January 2017 with the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies on January, 2017, and a historical meeting between the Head of Azerbaijan-Luxembourg Friendship group Elmira Akhundova and the Chief of Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg Mars Du Bartolomeo. This was the first meeting between Azerbaijan MP’s and Luxembourg MP’s over the last 25 years. On a visit organized by the CEA I came with a delegation came to Baku in October 2017.
During these meetings, the points about critics against Azerbaijan were explained, discussed and cleared. A special meeting which I organised with Mr Gasimov and Mr Laurent Mosar, the vice-president of the Luxembourg Parliament, was very helpful in this respect.
The CEA hosted the International Brussels Conference against Separatism on November, 2017. During this conference Mr Gasimov and I made clear public declarations against separatism.
This dialogue between the President of the CEA and Luxembourg political representatives must be continued to strengthen the political understanding and the economical relations.
- What can you say about activities of the Azerbaijanis living in Europe? How do you see the integration of the Azerbaijanis into administrative and political, as well as elective bodies of the European countries? How do the Azerbaijanis assimilate into the European life?
Azerbaijanis living in Europe are very active from a business point of view. For instance in Luxembourg the Luxembourg – Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce gives important information to improve relationships and business activities.
The political integration can be realised by using the possibility to obtain the double nationality and the voting rights linked to it.
The Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency, an administrative governmental agency forming is entrusted with implementing the policy for integrating foreigners in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Liaison Committee of Foreigners’ Associations is a platform for associations established in Luxembourg, which strives to achieve equal rights for all residents. They organise among other things inter-cultural events, activities for the dissemination of information and social and cultural mediation projects. The international Bazar event allows the publicity and selling of products produced 100% in Azerbaijan.
All this is important from a human point of view to improve human and economical relations between people living Luxembourg of Azerbaijan origin and the other residents. The number of Azerbaijani leaving in Luxembourg is increasing this means they assimilate well in Luxembourg.
countries. On the other side, this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and 2018 has been announced as the Year of Democratic Republic by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The Congress of European Azerbaijanis, together with the Azerbaijan State Diaspora Committee, arranged an action plan and this remarkable date will be marked in different European countries on a broad-scale.