The European Union (EU) and Mongolia held their third annual Joint Committee meeting on 3 December 2020 under the new EU-Mongolia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The meeting was an opportunity for the EU and Mongolia to consolidate, deepen and diversify their relations via videoconference.
The EU and Mongolia discussed in particular the severe socio-economic impact of the Corona-virus pandemic as well as the elections held in 2020 in Mongolia. The EU recalled that its development assistance to Mongolia during the period 2014-2020 amounted to €138 million, of which €37.5 million has been made available under the Team Europe COVID-19 response in support of the Mongolian health sector and mitigating the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic crisis. Mongolia and the EU agreed that the pandemic has had a profound impact on citizens’ lives and livelihoods, health services, and the economy, and stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, especially for the most vulnerable.
In a spirit of solidarity, the EU is fully committed to making COVID-19 vaccine accessible to low and middle-income countries in a fair and equitable manner. The European Union (Team Europe) is the largest donor to the COVAX Facility with a financial contribution of €870 million to purchase vaccines for the 92 low and middle-income countries (COVAX Advance Market Commitment). Mongolia is among the countries that are eligible for support from the COVAX instrument.
The EU and Mongolia will continue to work together to protect and promote human rights during the pandemic.
The EU and Mongolia agreed to further boost people-to-people initiatives once the epidemiological situation permits. In this regard, the EU and Mongolia acknowledged the possibilities that the Erasmus Mundus programme had offered and looked forward to more opportunities for Mongolian candidates under the new programme.
The EU congratulated Mongolia for its efforts and progress made to address money laundering under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan, as well as for the successful on-site visit, which have led to a delisting decision by the FATF.
In the light of good cooperation between the European Union and Mongolia on improving tax matters, leading to a positive outcome of the monitoring process, the Council of the European Union has recently removed Mongolia from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The EU and Mongolia also discussed the greening of the economy while working on economic recovery. They notably agreed on the need to combat climate change and diversify energy supplies, highlighting the importance of the UN Conference on Biodiversity (COP 15) in Kunming, China, and the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 26) next year in Glasgow, UK, as well as their joint support for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Connectivity was identified as an area for future cooperation, enabling synergies between the EU’s Europe-Asia connectivity strategy and Mongolia’s Steppe Road Plan.
The EU-Mongolia Joint Committee was preceded by the annual Human Rights Dialogue and the Subcommittee on trade and investment. Furthermore, the EU and Mongolia held an informal Working Group meeting on Development Cooperation.
The EU and Mongolia agreed to hold their next Joint Committee meeting in 2021 in Ulaanbaatar.
The Joint Committee was chaired by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Mongolian delegation was led by Mr Nyamtseren Enkhtaivan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.