BISHKEK (TCA) — The European Union and the Kyrgyz Republic held their fourteenth Cooperation Committee meeting on 18 October in Brussels, reaffirming the commitment of both parties to strengthen cooperation in a number of areas, the EU Delegation in the Kyrgyz Republic said.
Both parties addressed recent political developments in the Kyrgyz Republic and reviewed the progress made in a number of key governance reforms, including electoral reform, judicial reform and the rule of law, which the European Union supports through its Development and Cooperation Instrument. Developments in the region and security challenges, including radicalisation, were discussed.
The European Union emphasised the key role of civil society in preventing radicalisation and reinforcing internal stability, both of which can only be maintained through government policies based on the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The European Union stressed the importance for the Kyrgyz Republic to uphold cooperation with key international organisations whose respective expertise significantly contributes to advancing the reforms in line with international best practice.
The European Union confirmed its commitment to support the democracy and sustainable economic development in Kyrgyzstan. The Cooperation Committee provided an opportunity to review the implementation of bilateral development programmes in key sectors such as the rule of law, education and rural development, to which €184 million has been allocated for 2014-2020. Both parties agreed to create a Sub-Committee on Development Cooperation, which will allow for a thorough review of bilateral development cooperation priorities and programmes.
The Cooperation Committee followed the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Trade and Investment on 17 October, during which significant discussion was devoted to measures to help Kyrgyz exporters benefit from the preferences granted unilaterally by the EU to the Kyrgyz Republic under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), in January 2016. Kyrgyz authorities presented measures to enhance a business environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Alongside bilateral and trade relations, regional economic integration was also discussed.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Luc Devigne, Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE countries in the European External Action Service, as the head of the EU delegation. The delegation of the Kyrgyz Republic was led by Nikolai Chuikov, the National Coordinator for Cooperation with the European Union.