EU reiterates its support to reform processes aiming at sustainable socioeconomic development of Tajikistan

4 months ago Web Desk 0

The meeting that was co-chaired by Mr. Luc Pierre Devigne, acting Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE at the European External Action Service and Mr. Abdurahmon Safarali Abdurahmonzoda, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan took place by videoconference because of the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The EU reportedly reiterated its support to reform processes aiming at sustainable socio-economic development of Tajikistan and a commitment to further strengthening of bilateral relations, including preparation for new bilateral processes – GSP+ (General system of preferences) and EPCA (Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) negotiations.

 

The Tajik side thanked the EU for its contribution of € 48 million as part of the Team Europe Package adopted on April 11, which the EU has provided as part of a comprehensive €112 million development cooperation support package to help Tajikistan respond to the threat of coronavirus as well as address longer-term health and socio-economic needs to enhance livelihoods.

 

The two sides reportedly assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Tajikistan, including in the areas of governance, civil liberties, human rights, economic situation and social vulnerabilities, with the objective for the EU to adjust its policy and development objectives to address the most critical needs and risk factors.

 

The EU called on Tajik authorities to intensify the reform processes and improve the track record in human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

The EU also raised the importance of press and media freedom, including an open Internet, and the high importance that Tajik authorities create more favorable conditions for the functioning of NGOs in the country. The EU emphasized the important contribution that an independent civil society can make to socio-economic resilience in times of crisis.

 

The EU regretted that Tajikistan had expressed reservations against the extension of the mandates of the current OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

 

The EU stressed that to ensure the best chances for success of a potential GSP+ application, Tajikistan needed to engage in a pre-application dialogue, especially on issues of effective implementation of the 27 conventions on human and labor rights, environment and good governance. Tajikistan acknowledged the great potential to increase trade flows with the EU and committed to improve the business climate and meet the required criteria for a successful GSP+ application.

 

The EU reaffirmed its commitment to continue development cooperation with Tajikistan, and informed that was currently planning its cooperation with third countries for the period 2021-2027. The two sides took stock of ongoing and planned bilateral development cooperation programs, and discuss cooperation priorities for the upcoming period.

 

The two sides agreed to hold the next EU-Tajikistan Cooperation Committee in 2021 in Dushanbe, circumstances permitting, in full face-to-face format.

 

Source: Asia Plus