The Brexit crisis could create geopolitical headaches for Azerbaijan at a time when Baku is worried about keeping the country’s leaky economy afloat.
The Azerbaijani government so far has not officially commented on the Brexit situation. Reflecting the official attitude, Rasim Musabayov, an MP, said he did not expect Brexit to have a significant impact on EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations because they “were not close to begin with.”
That may be true in a narrow sense, but there are a couple of big reasons why Brexit could have unwelcome implications for Azerbaijan.
First, it is reasonable to expect that the Brexit vote will prompt the EU to become more introverted, as it must concentrate more on its own survival in the coming months and years than in projecting influence eastward. That is unfortunate given that in recent months Brussels and Baku had started to take steps to place relations back on solid ground after going through a period of prolonged mutual antagonism.
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Eldar Mamedov is a political adviser to the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament. He writes in his personal capacity.