AKIPRESS.COM - The European Union and Turkmenistan held their 20th Joint Committee meeting on 21 October 2021 by videoconference. The Joint Committee reviewed the progress made in the relations between the EU and Turkmenistan in the last year, in particular in the areas of trade, economic development and development cooperation. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation in a way that promotes mutual interests.
The EU and Turkmenistan discussed the macroeconomic situation in the EU and in Turkmenistan, both strongly influenced by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. The EU informed that the economy has returned to its recovery path, exhibiting strong growth in the second quarter of 2021. Turkmenistan presented its economic situation as stable with an increase in foreign trade by 13,8% in this year. The EU also emphasised the importance of comparable, reliable and timely statistical data for policy decisions and encouraged Turkmenistan to cooperate actively in the field of statistics.
The EU is Turkmenistan’s fourth biggest trade partner. Most of Turkmenistan’s exports to the EU are hydrocarbon-related products. Since the EU and other trade partners will decarbonise their economy and decrease imports of hydrocarbons, Turkmenistan is to diversify its trade exchanges. The EU encouraged Turkmenistan to pursue and speed up its accession process to the WTO, which will facilitate the diversification of its economy.
The EU updated on the latest energy-related development, in particular on the legislative proposals (the so-called ‘Fit for 55-package”) to reduce the Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 55% by 2030 with the objective of climate-neutrality by 2050. The EU encouraged Turkmenistan to join the Global Methane Pledge initiative launched in September 2021 by President von der Leyen and President Biden. Countries joining the Pledge commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 % by 2030. Delivering on the Pledge would reduce warming by at least 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2050.
The EU and Turkmenistan reviewed recently completed and ongoing bilateral and regional programmes notably in the fields of education and vocational training, public administrative reform, economic and financial cooperation, investment, trade, environment, climate change, energy and security. The EU recalled that successful development cooperation requires mutual commitment and active involvement of project beneficiaries. In the years 2021-2027, bilateral cooperation with Turkmenistan will focus on green aspects of the economy and improving the business climate. A new phase of the Erasmus+ programme will continue to provide opportunities for higher education cooperation and mobility open to Turkmenistan. The EU welcomed Turkmenistan’s participation in the EU-UNESCO Silk Road Heritage Corridors in Central Asia project and in the regional initiative on development of the transboundary tourism routes launched in September 2021.
Following the EU-Turkmenistan human rights dialogue of July 2021, the EU reiterated that progress in Human Rights is of key importance for EU-Turkmenistan relations and in particular for the ratification of the EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) by the European Parliament.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional cooperation and OSCE of the European External Action Service. The delegation of Turkmenistan was led by Mr Muhammentgeldi Serdarov, Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan