The EU and Turkmenistan held their eighteenth meeting of the Joint Committee on Feb. 26, 2019 in Brussels, Trend reports with reference to the EU website.
The Joint Committee reviewed the progress made last year between the EU and Turkmenistan, in particular in terms of trade, economic development, bilateral cooperation, political developments and human rights, and reaffirmed the commitment of both parties to strengthen cooperation in a number of areas.
The EU and Turkmenistan discussed the macroeconomic situation, bilateral trade and the ongoing reforms in Turkmenistan. Current political and key governance issues in Turkmenistan were reviewed, including the recently adopted program for socio-economic development 2019-2025, the activities of the Ombudsman office and the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan.
The EU informed Turkmen partners about the preparations for the new EU Strategy on Central Asia, to be adopted soon. The EU thanked Turkmenistan for hosting in July 2018 in Ashgabat the annual EU-Central Asia High-Level Political and Security Dialogue.
The meeting assessed the progress of ongoing EU development cooperation projects, with both the EU and Turkmenistan providing updates on their implementation.
The EU also provided information on the upcoming set of regional programs worth over 88 million euros, adopted in November 2018, that will support the private sector, trade and investment in the region, as well as help protect the environment, tackle climate change and promote the rule of law.
In addition to this, the extension of the EU SWITCH-Asia program to Central Asia in order to promote sustainable production and consumption in the region was also mentioned.
Turkmenistan provided an update on domestic energy developments including the progress of the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and energy efficiency issues.
The EU informed Turkmenistan about a conference on renewable energy in Central Asia scheduled for April 12, 2019 in Brussels.
The sides assessed the potential for Turkmen gas deliveries to the EU.
Updates were also provided on connectivity and transport matters. Water, environmental and climate change issues were discussed as well, in particular in relation to the Aral Sea.
The meeting was chaired by Luc Devigne, director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE countries of the European External Action Service, as the head of the EU delegation. The delegation of Turkmenistan was led by Batyr Bazarov, minister of finance and economy of Turkmenistan.
The EU and Turkmenistan are committed to implementing a project designed to bring Turkmen hydrocarbon energy carriers to European markets. The negotiations have been underway since 2011.
The project of laying a 300-kilometer gas pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea to the shores of Azerbaijan is optimal for the delivery of Turkmen gas to the European market. Further, the Turkmen gas can be delivered to Turkey, which borders with European countries.
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