EU and Kyrgyzstan enhance cooperation in education, democratic elections

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The European Union supports Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to deliver democratic and credible elections and further improve the education system to include more children and deliver quality education, the European Union’s Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic said on April 20.

Mr Jobst von Kirchmann, Head of the department for international cooperation and development in Central Asia, Middle East, Gulf and the Pacific at the European Commission, and Adylbek Kasymaliev, the Minister of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic, on April 20 signed two agreements. One will support the continued reform of the education system, partly to ensure that the education provided in Kyrgyz schools meets the needs of the labour market. The other agreement will provide support to the Kyrgyz Republic’s policy to deliver democratic, inclusive, transparent and credible elections. “Today’s signature brings the EU-Kyrgyz cooperation to a new level of partnership which results from strong Kyrgyz commitment to further improve democracy and education,” stated Mr von Kirchmann. “It is now the moment to step up our joint effort to implement these ambitious programmes,” he added.

In accordance with the two agreements the European Commission will make grant funding available in the amount of almost 4 billion KGS (approximately 2.8 billion KGS or 36 million EUR for the education and 1 billion KGS or 13.13 million EUR for election support).  The funds are delivered mainly through direct financial contributions to the state budget of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The new Education reform programme will be based on achievements of the previous programmes and will help more children get into better schools, more graduates to find good jobs or get further education and generally help the Kyrgyz authorities provide better education services to the public.    

The “Strengthening democracy through electoral reform” programme will support the Kyrgyz Republic in its effort to advance and develop the democratic electoral process. The success of the efforts will be measured e.g. by citizens’ trust in the electoral processes, voter turnout, the inclusiveness of the voter list and the establishment of a robust complaint mechanism.

The signing ceremony happens the same month as the EU contributed 0.8 billion KGS (10 million EUR) to the Kyrgyz state budget for macro-financial stability. This amount is part of the second tranche of the 2.3 billion KGS (30 million EUR) Macro-Financial Assistance programme to support the restoration of a sustainable external financial situation for the Kyrgyz Republic, to alleviate its balance of payments needs and thereby support its economic and social development.

Sergey Kwan

TCA