For the second time in three years, the European Parliament decided not to send a parliamentary delegation in Baku, to observe the presidential elections of April 11. MEP David McAlliester, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, gave the following exclusive statement to New Europe.

“The European Parliament has not been invited to observe. The European Parliament does only observe in countries where it has been invited, either within an EU led mission, or as one of the parliamentary delegations invited to join an OSCE-led mission.

Given the high number of invitations received for observing elections, which is to be put in perspective with our limited resources, the EP chooses to observe elections in places where its presence is meaningful, with genuine commitment of the authorities to work on the recommendations that would be made afterwards. The EP has observed elections in Azerbaijan in the past, and we have not come to the conclusion that the previous recommendations have been implemented.

We also note rather worrying developments in the country, notably as regards the Rule of Law and Human Rights. We monitor these developments on a permanent basis and work closely with the Azerbaijani Parliament to address the shortcomings. The EP will soon adopt its report on the relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, and all these issues will be tackled. We will also carefully follow the assessment of the elections by the OSCE-ODIHR.

Since the EP will not observe the early presidential elections, Members of the European Parliament that would be invited individually to observe and would make comments would not have been mandated by the EP: the EP would under no circumstances be committed by some of its members in this regard.”