Bilateral relations between Italy, the EU, and Azerbaijan: Energy security and foreign policy

2024-05-29 15:08

On May 29, 2024, an event titled "Bilateral relations between Italy, the EU, and Azerbaijan: Energy security and foreign policy" was held at the building of the Italian Senate in the Chapter Room of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. 
The event was moderated by ISIA Italian Institute for Asia General Secretary Domenico Palmieri. 
In the opening remarks, Vice President of the ISIA Italian Institute for Asia Sergio Divina highlighted Azerbaijan's strategic importance for Italy in terms of energy security. 
"Azerbaijan's contributions to our energy security are fundamental, and the war in Ukraine has increased its significance even more. I hope the partnership between the two countries will grow even stronger."
Secretary of the Productive Activities Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, Luca Squeri, touched upon the energy transition issues and compared the carbon neutrality strategies. 
"To reach these goals, we need economic and social sustainability. Much should be done in order to use the full potential of renewable sources."
Luca Squeri also stressed the significance of COP29 in terms of providing insight into the most pressing issues on the climate agenda.
"COP29 will be important in terms of achieving the green objectives."
Chairman of the Board of the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center) Farid Shafiyev, praised the high-level strategic relations between Italy and Azerbaijan. 
"Azerbaijan and Italy have solid political interaction, economic, and energy cooperation."
According to him, energy cooperation takes the largest share in the bilateral relationship, however, the scope of the partnership does not limit itself to a specific area.
"Italian companies are actively involved in the restoration and reconstruction processes, and during the pre-war period, Italy had always expressed a principled position towards Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The AIR Center Chairman also touched on the current situation in the region and EU-Azerbaijan relations, expressing Azerbaijan's interest in increasing interaction with the European Union.
Farid Shafiyev drew attention to the statement of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy Edmondo Cirielli calling on some EU leaders to abstain from short-sighted comments regarding the situation in the South Caucasus and Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process.
He added that the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process is generally on a good track.
Then Chairman of the Baku Political Scientists Club, Zaur Mammadov, gave a brief speech on the current level of relations. He said that Azerbaijan and Italy are connected by strategic partnership relations based on mutual trust and good traditions.
"Over the past few years, cooperation between the two countries in the cultural and humanitarian spheres has developed in an upward direction. The projects implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Italy before the pandemic and the events organised made a great contribution to the development of ties."
After the opening remarks, renowned specialised experts made presentations. 
Geopolitical analyst at ISIA and the University of Siena, Fabio Indeo, called Azerbaijan a key partner in terms of energy security in Europe. According to him, Baku has already proven to be a reliable partner and expressed its support for the EU's diversification policy.
"The MoU on energy partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan will enable to double the volumes and reduce our dependency on Russia."
Fabio Indeo put a special emphasis on the Black Sea cable project, aimed at exporting electricity from Azerbaijan to Europe.
"COP29 will also be the ideal place to discuss the involvement of European companies and partners to support Azerbaijan's decarbonisation strategy.
AIR Center Head of Department Javid Valiyev's presentation elaborated on the mobility and sustainability of international transport corridors and provided a comprehensive overview of Azerbaijan's transit capabilities.
AIR Center's senior advisor, Shahmar Hajiyev, said that COP29 may turn out to be an important opportunity for Azerbaijan to support a wider use of RES throughout the economy and speed up the green transition. 
"Azerbaijan's green growth strategy and green energy projects will transform the country into a "green energy hub" in the region to supply RES from the South Caucasus to Europe.
Advisor to the Executive Director of the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan ( AZPROMO) Sevil Yahyayeva gave information about the economic landscape and the dynamic business potential it holds for investors.
"Azerbaijan is indeed a reliable trading partner, with trade relations with more than 190 countries worldwide and a total trade turnover exceeding 51 billion USD in 2023. Our top export markets include Italy, Türkiye, India, and Greece."
Hailing the current state of economic affairs with Italy, she said that non-oil exports to Italy are also gaining ground.
In the end, Memorandums of Understanding were signed between the Center of Analysis of International Relations and the ISIA and the Baku Club of Political Analysts and the ISIA.

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