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The European Union and Mongolia held a Joint Committee meeting today under the EU-Mongolia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
In 2019, the EU and Mongolia celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The presence of the EU Delegation in Ulaanbaatar since 2017 allows both parties to consolidate, deepen and diversify their relations.
In the meeting, both the EU and Mongolia reaffirmed the importance of further enhancing their relations by discussing priority areas of cooperation in the political, economic and human rights spheres. They exchanged views on regional and global issues and discussed opportunities for strengthening cooperation in the framework of the Europe-Asia connectivity strategy.
The third EU-Mongolia Human Rights Dialogue was held back-to-back with the Joint Committee. The EU and Mongolia discussed issues related to enhancing cooperation in multilateral fora. While the EU acknowledged the firm basis of the rule of law in Mongolia and the country's good compliance with human rights and fundamental freedoms, recent initiatives in the field of human rights and rule of law risk being contrary to Mongolia's international obligations, such as the independence of the judiciary, the rights of the child and human rights defenders. The EU welcomed the recent statement by the Mongolian Minister of Justice on the country’s continued strong commitment to the abolition of the death penalty. As is the case for all human rights dialogues, the EU met with civil society representatives ahead of the Dialogue, which contributes to a regular engagement with such groups.
The Subcommittee on Trade and Investment, held prior to the Joint Committee reviewed the state of trade and economic cooperation with a focus on the improvement of the business climate and the diversification of Mongolia's economy. It also reviewed the state of implementation of the EU Trade-Related Assistance to Mongolia (TRAM) project that assists Mongolia in the diversification of its economy and capacity building, as well as support for business intermediaries. The Joint Committee decided to establish a dialogue on sanitary and phytosanitary related issues.
Prior to the Joint Committee, dialogues took place in the context of EU’s special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+). The EU and Mongolia discussed how to make better use of these trade preferences as well as the effective implementation of international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance. Agreed follow up actions include the adoption of the revised labour law, enforcing child protection, and ensuring the independence of the judiciary.
The Mongolian delegation at the Joint Committee was headed by Mr Tsogtbaatar Damdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The European Union's delegation was headed by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service.
The EU and Mongolia agreed to hold their next Joint Committee meeting in 2020 in Brussels.