ForewordThe enlargement of the European Union led to the emergence of a new EU program, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which Azerbaijan joined in 2004. Pursuant to the publication of the Country Report1 in March 2005, Azerbaijan’s ENP Action Plan was finally adopted in November 2006. This is a “political document laying out strategic objectives of the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU”.2The ENP provides perspectives for unprecedented and significant economic integration and in-depth political cooperation, and it is aimed to promote stability, security and welfare both in EU countries and ENP policy member countries. The ENP sets out 10 priority areas for Azerbaijan, all of which are of equal importance: (1) contribution to a peaceful solution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict; (2) strengthening democracy in the country, including through a fair and transparent electoral process; (3) strengthening the protection of human rights and of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law; (4) improving the business and investment climate, particularly by strengthening the fight against corruption; (5) improving the functioning of the customs’ service; (6) support balanced and sustained economic development, including protection of the environment; (7) further convergence of economiclegislation and administrative practices; (8) strengthening EU-Azerbaijan energy bilateral cooperation, and energy and transport regional cooperation; (9) enhancement of cooperation in the field of justice, freedom and security, including in the field of border management; and (10) strengthening regional cooperation. Comprehensive monitoring of the implementation of the ENP Action Plan is performed by the Azerbaijan National Committee for European Integration (ANCEI),3 while this report focuses on three aspects constituting the core of the anti-corruption strategy: reforms in the judiciary, public service and implementation of obligations assumed before the GRECO group. Implementation of the Action Plan is expected to significantly further the approximation of Azerbaijan legislation, norms and standards to those of the EU; however, there are no sanctions if ENP commitments are not met, and compliance is based only on the principle ofvoluntary compliance. Overall, implementation by Azerbaijan of its international commitments is uneven, with substantial accomplishments in some sectors,moderate success in others and no achievements in certain areas. This picture produces an impression that a long-term vision has yet to be formed, and that reforms are implemented on an ad hoc basis. Transparency Azerbaijan sincerely hopes that this report will assist the government in identifying areas in need of urgent reform, which will lead towards systematic compliance with the commitmentsmade by the country under the ENP."(pg 2)
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