Uzbekistan: The European Union and Uzbekistan complete negotiations for a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement

06.07.2022
Brussels
Strategic Communications

The European Union and Uzbekistan have successfully concluded negotiations on an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Today, at a ceremony in Brussels, in the presence of Pedro Serrano, the Head of Cabinet for the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission and Sardor Umurzakov, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the chief negotiators initialled the new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA).

The EPCA will provide a new, modern and ambitious framework to step up the EU-Uzbekistan  partnership. The agreement includes new areas of cooperation and significantly upgrades the regulatory framework for trade and economic relations.

Under the EPCA, the main areas of cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan will include:

  • Political cooperation and reforms: the Agreement puts a strong emphasis on shared values, democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms and sustainable development.
  • Enhanced cooperation in foreign and security policy, with a focus on regional stability and international cooperation, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, conflict prevention and crisis management.
  • Justice, Freedom and Security cooperation, covering data protection, migration, the fight against money laundering and terrorism, organised crime and corruption, tackling illicit drugs, as well as judicial cooperation and consular protection.
  • Trade, as the EPCA ensures a better regulatory environment for economic operators in areas such as trade in goods and services, state-owned enterprises, procurement, and intellectual property rights.
  • Enhanced cooperation in a number of other key policy areas, including in economic and financial cooperation, energy, transport, environment and climate change, digital economy, agriculture and rural development, employment and social affairs, culture, education and youth, and research.

In addition, today in Brussels, the EU and Uzbekistan held their 18th annual Cooperation Committee meeting. The two sides reviewed developments in their bilateral relations over the past year, and their prospects for the coming year. The EU raised the recent violent events in Karakalpakstan and called for an independent investigation to take place as soon as possible into the circumstances around the protests. The EU stressed the importance of defending the right to peaceful demonstration. The two sides also discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its repercussions in the region and globally.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss trade and economic relations, including Uzbekistan’s membership of the EU’s GSP+ scheme; technical cooperation, and the EU’s support for Uzbekistan’s development strategy; cooperation in the energy sector, with an emphasis on sustainability and the green transition; human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially with regard to constitutional reform and reform of Uzbekistan’s criminal code; and the regional situation in Central Asia, including the situation in Afghanistan. The two sides looked ahead to the EU-Central Asia Sustainable Connectivity Conference to be held in in November 2022 in Samarkand.

The meeting of the Cooperation Committee was co-chaired by Deputy Managing Director of the European External Action Service, Luc Devigne, and by the First Deputy Minister of Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, Laziz Kudratov.

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44
Paloma Hall Caballero
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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