06/26/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/26/2020 02:54
The European Union and Turkmenistan held their nineteenth Joint Committee meeting on 25 June 2020 through videoconference due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. It followed the 9th meeting of the dedicated EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue on 18 June.
The Joint Committee reviewed the progress made in relations between the EU and Turkmenistan in the last year, in particular in trade and investment, economic development and bilateral cooperation. The EU and Turkmenistan reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation in a way that promotes mutual interests as well as a robust post-coronavirus recovery.
The EU and Turkmenistan discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the macroeconomic situation as well as trade and socio-economic developments in the EU and in Turkmenistan. The EU encouraged diversification and greater trade and investments in Turkmenistan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the Turkmenistan economy. The EU welcomed contacts between Central Asian leaders despite borders closing in the region, which aimed at minimising the consequences of the crisis. The EU encouraged Turkmenistan to ensure the undisrupted flow of critical goods during the pandemic.
Turkmenistan presented its plans for socio-economic development until 2025, emphasising efforts to diversify exports from gas and oil, and accelerate the overall diversification of the economy through the development of oil and gas processing industries, agriculture and manufacturing of goods for import substitution. The EU side welcomed Turkmenistan's bid for observer status in the WTO. The EU informed Turkmenistan of the ambitious measures taken to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and to promote an economic recovery, which protects livelihoods, strengthens the single market, supports employment creation and SMEs while drawing on the green and digital transition.
Turkmenistan proposed to deepen the bilateral energy cooperation and to amend the EU Turkmenistan Energy Memorandum of Understanding, in light of the European Green Deal and additional strands of cooperation. The EU suggested to address methane emissions as a possible future area for bilateral cooperation.
The two sides assessed progress in the implementation of EU-Turkmenistan and regional cooperation projects. The Turkmen delegation outlined priorities for potential cooperation under the EU's 2021-2027 programming period, underlining in particular digitalisation, connectivity, trade, agriculture, education, green economic development, environment, climate change, management of natural resources. The EU provided information on its 'Team Europe' coronavirus recovery package, of which around €124 million will go to Central Asia, and about the regional programme focusing on strengthening the health system of middle-income countries in Central Asia. The EU highlighted the importance of inter-parliamentary cooperation with the European Parliament.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service. The delegation of Turkmenistan was led by Mr Ezizgeldy Annamuhammedov, Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan.