Azerbaijan wants to supply even more gas to Europe in the future. "Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for Europe," said President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday after a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. By 2027, the amount of gas that Baku delivers to Europe is expected to rise to 20 billion cubic meters, from an expected twelve billion this year. "That's half of our total exports." Aliyev praised his country as an alternative to the previous supplier Russia. Since the attack on Ukraine, at least ten European countries have expressed interest in gas supplies.
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That is why EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to Azerbaijan last summer and decided on a new energy partnership with the country, which has been autocratically governed since 2003. Von der Leyen received a lot of criticism for this. Aliyev imprisons members of the opposition in his country and bullies the press. In addition, Azerbaijan has tried several times in recent years – including through bribery – to influence members of the Bundestag.
Scholz described Azerbaijan as a "partner of growing importance", but also stressed the importance of a vibrant civil society. In the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, he called for a quick and peaceful solution. Immediately before the meeting with Aliyev, Armenia's head of government had warned of a renewed flare-up of the conflict.
"There is a very high probability of escalation," Nikol Pashinyan said in Yerevan on Tuesday. He accused the government in Baku of a rhetoric that is becoming "more aggressive" every day. Azerbaijan's blockade of the only road to Nagorno-Karabakh will cause a "humanitarian catastrophe". Since December, the supply of the 120,000 inhabitants of the enclave has been severely affected.