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Uzbekistan expands cooperation with EU

On December 10, 2019, Uzbekistan delegation led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dilshod Akhatov and representatives of various ministries and agencies of Uzbekistan arrived in Brussels.

The purpose of the visit is to conduct the 4th round of negotiations on the draft Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Uzbekistan and the European Union, which will be held on December 11-13, 2019. Since the first round, the parties have agreed on many important points of the document.

Uzbekistan – European working groups on political, sectoral and trade issues held consultations, including via video conference, which resulted in mutual understanding on various aspects of the draft agreement.

The European Union has confirmed its readiness to assist Uzbekistan in preparing the application for obtaining the status of beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) and support Uzbekistan’s suppliers in entering the markets of the EU countries.

This was noted during the 15th meeting of the Uzbekistan-EU Cooperation Council held in Brussels on November 11-13.

As part of the visit, Uzbekistan’s delegation also met with heads of EU institutions, the Belgian Senate and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

The European side welcomed the completion of ratification of all 27 international conventions and agreements by Uzbekistan.

As a result of the visit, an agreement on financing technical assistance projects “Entry of the Republic of Uzbekistan into the World Trade Organization” in the amount of $5 million was signed. It provides for the preparation of necessary documents and advanced training of Uzbek specialists for better orientation in agreements and documents of the WTO and protocols of the international trading system.

A grant agreement was signed on the “EU Development Contribution Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region” project in the amount of $5.2 million – these funds will be used to implement projects in the areas of socio-economic development and mitigate the consequences of the tragedy in the Aral Sea region.

On the sidelines of the visit, the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto about the decision to allocate 1 million euros to support the activities of this Trust Fund.

During the events, the participants discussed the current state and prospects for the development of bilateral relations and exchanged views on pressing issues of regional and international cooperation.

The EU assistance program for Uzbekistan covers 2014-2020 and has a total budget of 168 million euros. To date, 25 projects have been implemented in Uzbekistan for a total amount of more than 100 million euros with EU assistance. As many as 15 national projects totalling 69.4 million euros cover the areas of economic and social development, education, water management and waste management, improving living conditions in rural areas, supporting entrepreneurship in remote areas and developing tourism.

In addition, Uzbekistan receives EU assistance under 10 regional projects for a total of 33.6 million euros in education (Erasmus+), business and tourism development and other areas.

By Sher Karimov

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