The EU is currently reshaping its relationship with Armenia and Azerbaijan through new agreements for which the negotiations ended (Armenia) or started (Azerbaijan) in February 2017. After Yerevan’s decision to join the EAEU (thereby renouncing to sign an AA/DCFTA), the initialling of the CEPA provides a new impetus to EU-Armenia relations. It highlights Armenia’s lingering interest in developing closer ties with the EU and provides a vivid illustration of the EU’s readiness to respond to EaP countries’ specific needs and circumstances. The CEPA is also a clear indication that the EU has not engaged in a zero-sum game with Russia and is willing to exploit any opportunity to further its links with EaP countries. The launch of negotiations on a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement – in spite of serious political and human rights problems in the country – results from several intertwined factors, including the EU’s energy security needs and Baku’s increasing bargaining power. At this stage, Azerbaijan is interested only in forms of cooperation that are not challenging the political status quo. However, the decline in both world oil prices and domestic oil production in this country is creating bargaining opportunities for the EU in what promises to be a difficult negotiation.
The EU has developed a policy to support the gradual integration of the Western Balkan countries with the Union. On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the first of the seven countries to join, and Montenegro, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidates. Accession negotiations and chapters have been opened with Montenegro and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina (which submitted its membership application in early 2016) and Kosovo are potential candidate countries.
The fifth negotiating round between the European Union and Mercosur since the resumption of formal talks in October last year was held from 6 to 10 November in Brasilia. This round follows on from the round from 2 to 6 October, also held in Brasilia. Mercosur is the trade grouping which in these negotiations includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
On 13 November, the Council approved a mandate to negotiate the modernisation of the existing association agreement with Chile.
A summary of the Committee’s consideration of amendments is now available.