05 June 2023

The President of Uzbekistan put forward important initiatives to further deepen regional cooperation between Central Asia and the European Union

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in the second meeting of the leaders of Central Asia and the European Union, held in the city of Cholpon-Ata, the press service of the head of our state reports.

The event, chaired by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, was also attended by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Nurmukhammed Amannepesov.

In accordance with the agenda, issues of further development of mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and the European Union, as well as topical international and regional problems were discussed.

The head of Uzbekistan in his speech noted that in the short period after the first meeting of the leaders in Astana, a lot of work has been done to develop a constructive political dialogue and multifaceted partnership.

In particular, a High-Level Conference on Interregional Connectivity was held, at which special attention was paid to promoting projects in the areas of digitalization, transport communications, energy and water resources management, including within the framework of the European Global Gateway strategy.

A number of important regional projects in the field of vocational education and a sustainable energy system in Central Asia have been launched.

The Civil Society Forum, the second Economic Forum and the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction Development were successfully held.

“These events once again showed positive, qualitative changes in the dialogue with our European partners,” the President emphasized.

It was emphasized that today Central Asia is a center of attraction and a space for new economic opportunities for leading European companies and banks.

“We are already talking about a broad investment and technological partnership aimed at creating modern industrial capacities, introducing “green” energy, developing “smart” agriculture, and forming an extensive transport and logistics infrastructure,” the head of state noted.

Referring to Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the EU countries, the President of our country pointed to a noticeable intensification of contacts at all levels. In particular, meetings with the leaders of France, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Embassies opened in Budapest and Stockholm. An official visit to Italy will take place in the near future.

Due to the GSP+ regime, trade with the EU countries has increased by almost 70 percent since the beginning of the year. The portfolio of promising projects for the creation of high-tech industries and new jobs with leading European companies and banks has exceeded 20 billion euros.

In the humanitarian sphere, two unique projects were carried out in partnership with the Louvre and the New Museum of Berlin, where for the first time the richest cultural and historical heritage of our region was presented on a large scale.

As the President of Uzbekistan emphasized, despite the difficult geopolitical situation and negative trends in the global economy, the countries of Central Asia demonstrate steady growth.

In this regard, the importance of further support by European partners of national development programs and strategies for irreversible reforms was noted.

Taking into account modern realities, it was also proposed to launch, together with the European Investment Bank, special instruments of financial support for the creation of production capacities of leading European companies in the countries of Central Asia.

In the area of digital connectivity, an initiative was launched to develop a joint “Digital Agenda for Central Asia” with the involvement of the “Team Europe” mechanism.

The head of our state dwelled separately on countering climate change and improving the sustainability of ecosystems through the implementation of targeted regional projects using advanced European knowledge and technologies.

“Given the urgency of the problem, we invite the European Union to co-organize the first International Climate Forum, which will be held this autumn as part of the Samarkand Solidarity Initiative for Common Security and Prosperity,” the President suggested.

Interest was also expressed in the active participation of partners in the project to create the Central Asian University for the Study of the Environment and Climate Change.

In order to actively use the tourism potential of Central Asia, the head of our state put forward an initiative to jointly develop a program to promote the development of sustainable tourism for the region and present it at the anniversary session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, which will be held in October this year in Uzbekistan.

Given the importance of investing in the education of young people, the President proposed establishing partnerships with leading universities of the EU countries and introducing joint educational programs.

The leader of our country also called for the resumption of regular meetings of ministers of education and rectors of universities, expanding support for research and educational projects for the Central Asian region within the Horizon Europe Program.

As the President emphasized, the most important area of cooperation is the strengthening of cooperation in the fight against new challenges and security threats, the development of partnership programs in the field of combating extremism and radicalism, human trafficking, organized and cybercrime, as well as border protection.

– For these purposes, we propose to hold an expert conference “Central Asia – the European Union: a new agenda for cooperation in the field of security,” the head of state said.

Special attention was paid to the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, in connection with which the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan called on partners not to reduce the volume of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and expressed his readiness to provide the infrastructure of the logistics hub in Termez for these purposes.

It was also proposed to continue regular consultations of special representatives for Afghanistan to develop common approaches to solving topical issues of resolving the situation and peaceful development of this country.

At the end of his speech, the head of state noted the expediency of developing and adopting a separate road map based on the results of the meeting.

The President of Uzbekistan also expressed gratitude for the support of the initiative to hold the first official summit in the “Central Asia – EU” format in Uzbekistan next year.

As a result of the meeting of the heads of state, a joint press communiqué was adopted.