Representatives of the European Union and the Kyrgyz Republic met in Bishkek to discuss their cooperation in a number of areas. Meetings that were part of the regular political dialogue took place in two formats: sub-committee for development cooperation and sub-committee for trade and Investment, Kabar with reference to the press and Information office of the delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic reported.
The launch of a new sub-committee on development cooperation which met on 27 February for the 1st time confirms the commitment of the EU to support the Kyrgyz authorities in their reform efforts to ensure sustainable political, economic and social development in the Kyrgyz Republic, for the benefit of its citizens.
The participants reviewed in detail development cooperation priorities and programmes, in particular planning of future projects and relevant developments in sectoral issues and policies linked to the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme for Kyrgyz Republic (2014-2020). The programme’s overall envelope of 184 MEUR is divided into three focal sectors: Rule of Law, Education and Integrated Rural Development.
The Kyrgyz Government has confirmed these focal sectors are still appropriate and relevant; medium-term reforms are currently being implemented. More recently, Government has also declared that the supply of drinking water across the country is a top priority. The EU is opening a special investment allocation of 10 MEUR earmarked for the Kyrgyz Republic under Regional Indicative Programme for Central Asia, in order to boost investment in specific areas, including drinking water supply infrastructure.
The 16th meeting of Sub-Committee on Trade and Investment focused primarily on bilateral trade relations, business environment and economic cooperation in the region. Particular attention was devoted to Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), a unilateral scheme of trade preferences offered by the EU, under which the Kyrgyz entrepreneurs can export more than 6000 categories of goods to the EU market without tariffs.
The EU provides this incentive to encourage good governance and sustainable development in countries that have committed, like Kyrgyzstan, to implement the 27 core conventions of the United Nations on human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, fight against corruption and drug trafficking. 2017 has been a successful year when it comes to bilateral trade, with more than doubling of Kyrgyz export to the EU, and a 24% increase of EU exports to Kyrgyzstan.
The EU and the Kyrgyz Republic are strengthening their bilateral relations. Negotiations of a new comprehensive bilateral agreement were launched on 19 December and the 2nd round of negotiations takes place on 28 February and 1 March in Bishkek.
The EU also started a broad consultation process to feed into the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, to be presented in 2019. With this purpose a seminar was held in Bishkek last week with participation of the EU Special Representative for Central Asia.