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Ambassador and First Counsellor of the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan conduct meeting with press

10.12.2021

On 1 December 2021, the event "Turkmenistan - EU: facets of partnership" took place, summing up the first results of the EU Delegation’s work in Turkmenistan.

The event brought together over 30 participants of the local press and foreign media accredited in Turkmenistan, social media influencers, employees of bilateral and regional EU projects and focal points for public diplomacy of the EU Member State Embassies in Turkmenistan, as well as press representatives from Embassies of the UK and the USA.

The participants were acquainted with the key priorities of EU’s cooperation with Turkmenistan for the future. The EU Ambassador Mr. Diego Ruiz Alonso talked about the EU values and the concept of the European Union, introducing participants to the essence of the work of the EU Delegation in Turkmenistan.

“The European Union updated its strategy for Central Asia in 2019 and first result of this was the opening of a EU Delegation in Turkmenistan. The main goal of our work here is to explain to the people of Turkmenistan what is the EU and to promote our values and principles. We consider that the EU is a very good example of regional integration that can contribute to confront successfully global challenges and that can be used as a model in other parts of the world”, the Ambassador noted. “Today, Turkmenistan is participating in more than 20 regional and bilateral project funded by the European Union, working on subjects of security, trade, energy, the rule of law, environment, education, private sector, gender equality, as well as investing into the future of young people. The European Union is one of the main donors in Turkmenistan, even though not many people know about it. We want to change that”. “The EU is the biggest investor in the world and its companies have the know-how, the technology and the financial muscle to make an impact in the development of any country and the improvement of the living conditions of its people. Freedom, justice, peace and respect are the principles at the basis of our idea of society. Promoting equality at the same time as defending diversity is characteristic of our actions, both at home and abroad”, said the Ambassador.

Further, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkmenistan Ms. Renata Wrobel talked about the programmatic part of our work.. In particular, Ms Wrobel outlined  priority areas for EU’s cooperation with Turkmenistan for the years 2021-2027 which were established in consultation with various stakeholders, including the government, International Organisations and Financial Institutions, private and public sectors and civil society. The priority areas focus on:

1. Green development, which includes environmentally friendly economic growth, transition to green economy, fighting against negative effects of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint;

2. Improving the business climate with a focus on agricultural / rural development and support to the development of trade.

The EU will place particular emphasis on the development of micro-, small and medium-size enterprises, and enterprises led or created by women and young people will benefit from particular support.

“The EU started implementing cooperation projects in Turkmenistan in 1997. Over the years, our cooperation gradually increased, and we are looking forward to stepping up our cooperation in the next 7 years period for which we are planning now. We are very hopeful and positive about our future achievements. Since Turkmenistan has the status of an upper middle income country, EU funded bilateral projects and technical assistance in the country are coming to an end. But, with the opening of the EU Delegation in Ashgabat in 2019, we have managed to secure some funds for bilateral projects until 2027. The EU Delegation will therefore work together with the Government and civil society of Turkmenistan to develop and implement projects in the fields I just mentioned,” stated Ms. Wrobel. "There is a number of ongoing EU-funded regional projects in Central Asia which focus on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, trade, prevention of violent extremism, climate change, the rule of law and other subjects. The European Union has invested millions of Euros into these projects. It gives us great pleasure to see the high level of engagement of the Government and other partners from Turkmenistan in all of these initiatives. We look forward to strengthening our cooperation with Turkmenistan and bringing it to a new level."

She explained that the COVID-19 prevention project is being implemented in cooperation with the WHO office in Turkmenistan and includes the purchase of laboratory equipment, as well as training of personnel of local hospitals and laboratories. Another EU-funded project: STRIVE Asia is implemented jointly with the UNDP and aims at countering terrorism and radicalization in the Central Asian region..

Renata Wrobel also mentioned the ERASMUS + office in Turkmenistan. The office now connects European and Turkmen educational institutions and offers opportunities for the exchange of experience and knowledge among teachers and students.