In its September plenary, the European Parliament voted for resolution on Azerbaidjan in which it highlighted serious concerns over the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the country. MEPs called for immediate release of a long list of political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists that are currently imprisoned. They also called on the Azerbaidjani authorities to cooperate with the Council of Europe and OCSE, whose office the authorities had close in Baku.
As a reaction to the European Parliament’s resolution, Azerbaidjan’s parliament Milli Majlis on 14 September where it instructed its delegation to withdraw from the parliamentary cooperation in the Euronest.
The co-chairs of the the Euronest parliamentary assembly, Heidi Hautala and Victor Dolize, regretted the unfortunate decision by the Azerbaijan parliament in their joint statement. They emphasised their availability to openly discuss the situtation.
Deep regret at the decision of the Azerbaijan Parliament (Milli Majlis) to start withdrawal procedure from the parliamentary cooperation uniting MEPs and Members of the Eastern neighbourhood parliaments (Euronest) was voiced on Wednesday by Co-Presidents of the Euronest MEP Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, FI) and Victor Dolidze from Georgian parliament. However, both Co-Presidents stress in their statement their “availability to openly discuss the situation” with the Milli Majlis.
Read below the full statement by the Co-Presidents on the communicated intent of Milli Majlis to start the procedure leading to a withdrawal of Azerbaijan from the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly:
As soon as the Azerbaijani Milli Majlis will formally notify both Co-Presidents, the Bureau of the Euronest PA will take stock of these developments in order to propose the appropriate measures ensuring the continuation of smooth functioning of the Euronest PA.
The Euronest PA, indeed, remains the multilateral parliamentary dimension of the Eastern Partnership. As such, it will continue to function, in a spirit of integration and openness, in order to promote the necessary conditions to accelerate political and economic integration between the European Union and the Eastern European Partners.
Participation in the Euronest PA remains, first and foremost, the voluntary and sovereign choice of each concerned Eastern Partner which fulfils the criteria; in this sense, we take note of and respect the decision of the Azerbaijani Milli Majlis to withdraw. However, we believe that this development is unfortunate, and will also prevent Milli Majlis Members from speaking their voice in joint parliamentary proceedings of evident importance for the region.
The Constituent Act of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly provides for a year’s notice before any withdrawal becomes effective: within this period, we reiterate our availability to openly discuss the situation with the Milli Majlis.