The European Union (EU) and the Kyrgyz Republic held their fourteenth Cooperation Council meeting on 15 February 2016.
The Cooperation Council reaffirmed the commitment of both parties to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation in a number of areas and reviewed achievements from 2015, notably in development cooperation, through which the EU has granted EUR 34.6 million to the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Cooperation Council reviewed political developments in the Kyrgyz Republic. The EU welcomed the successful organisation of competitive parliamentary elections in October 2015 and encouraged the Kyrgyz Republic to continue its electoral reform process. The EU will provide support for electoral reform through a dedicated EU programme worth EUR 13.3 million. Kyrgyz efforts to build a stable parliamentary democracy must be reinforced by further implementation of key reforms. The rule of law, fight against corruption and judicial reform are necessary pre-conditions for sustainable development and an attractive business environment. The EU is committed to supporting the Kyrgyz Republic in this transition process. Our partnership is aimed at advancing values we share and working together for the prosperity and stability of democratic Kyrgyzstan.
The EU emphasised the important role of civil society in the democratic transition of the Kyrgyz Republic and called on the Kyrgyz Republic to pursue an open-minded policy based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Cooperation Council addressed economic developments in the Kyrgyz Republic and in the region. The EU particularly welcomed the Kyrgyz Republic's successful application for Generalised Schemed of Preferences, GSP+, as an important development in EU-Kyrgyz relations. This unilateral offer by the EU will allow Kyrgyz exporters to supply a wide range of products to the EU at zero tariff rates. This is an incentive to growth and diversification of the Kyrgyz economy, as well as an additional incentive for the Kyrgyz Republic to make further progress in the field of human rights, labour rights and good governance.
The Cooperation Council also addressed regional developments in the energy sector as well as security-related challenges, including border management and radicalisation. The stability of Central Asia is of common interest to the Kyrgyz Republic and the EU, and the parties will seek to increase their cooperation in this area. The EU welcomed the Kyrgyz decision to host an EU-sponsored meeting of the Central Asia Border Security Initiative (CABSI) in Bishkek in April.
The EU was represented at the Cooperation Council by Mr Bert KOENDERS, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, acting as head of the EU delegation. The delegation of the Kyrgyz Republic was led by Mr Erlan ABDYLDAEV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, acting as Chair of the Cooperation Council. Meetings with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini, and with the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, are foreseen for Tuesday 16 February.