BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 16
By Ilkin Seyfaddini - Trend:
Regardless of the impact COVID-19 will have on the economic development of Uzbekistan, those reforms that were launched at the end of 2016 and which continue to lay a solid foundation for long-term development for decades to come, Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan, Eduards Stiprais told Trend in an interview.
“We saw that before the first quarter of this year, all indicators of the economic development of Uzbekistan were positive. We can quite confidently say that when the peak of the pandemic is passed, the economic growth trend will recover in the shortest possible time,” said Eduards Stiprais.
The ambassador mentioned the progress of Uzbekistan in the field of freedom of speech and press.
“There is much more that can and should be worked on, but the trend is set and is going in the right direction. We see that the changes are ongoing and have the character of incremental changes. Not a week goes by, so that in the sphere of state administration, economy, democratic institutions or human rights there would not appear any promising news. Of course, we see that such reforms are not easy. Small rollbacks occur in moments, and some mistakes are made, but as they say, a horse stumbles that has four legs,” stated Stiprais.
Moreover, Stiprais stressed significant increase in intensity of contacts between the EU and Uzbekistan.
“All meetings of the Partnership Council, committees and subcommittees provided for by the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement are held regularly. A new subcommittee on development cooperation has been created. All our working meetings are held in a true collegial spirit and openly. All questions are open for discussion - on both sides there is no desire to embellish or hide something unnecessarily. If there are problems, they are jointly discussed and we jointly search for a solution to overcome them,” stated Stiprais.
Also, Stiprais noted that over the past three years, the High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, has visited Uzbekistan twice, which indicates the high level of relations. In addition, President of the European Council Donald Tusk visited Uzbekistan too.
“For us, the issue of cooperation is particularly important in the field of wider regional development and the impact that Uzbekistan has made over the past three years in the development of the entire Central Asian region. We highly value the role of the leadership of Uzbekistan in the revival of regional cooperation in Central Asia, and the pivotal role of Uzbekistan in promoting stability and economic development in Afghanistan. This is fundamentally different from the situation that was in the region three - four years ago,” Eduards Stiprais pointed out.
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