BISHKEK (TCA) — On October 9, European Union member states adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Kyrgyzstan.
The new agreement will build on the partnership and cooperation agreement in force since 1999. It will reflect the ambition of the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic to take forward their bilateral relations, the EU statement announcing the decision said.
“The partnership between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic is based on the Kyrgyz Republic’s commitment to undertake reforms to strengthen democracy, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and to promote sustainable economic development. The EU has supported the Kyrgyz Republic in these efforts through its long term development cooperation, including support to the reform of its electoral system,” the statement said.
The move comes less than a week before the October 15 presidential election in Kyrgyzstan.
The EU said it expects the upcoming presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan to be carried out “in line with its international obligations and commitments in terms of holding credible, inclusive and transparent elections”.
The talks are due to start shortly after the election, EU diplomats who are not authorized to speak about the issue publicly have told RFE/RL.
The new agreement is expected to be similar to the one neighboring Kazakhstan signed with the EU in 2016.
The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) that the EU and Astana negotiated for over three years was the first new political agreement the EU concluded with a Central Asian country.
It reinforced political cooperation in 29 policy areas, including justice, the rule of law, energy, education, and research.