The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and Tajikistan held its eight meeting on Tuesday, 10 December in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by the Tajikistan Minister of Foreign affairs, Mr Sirojiddin Muhriddin. The EU delegation was chaired by Mr Goran Grlić Radman Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, on behalf of Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Cooperation Council reviewed the positive development of bilateral relations, including political, judiciary and economic reforms, the rule of law, trade, investment and energy relations, and international issues. The Cooperation Council also discussed questions of good governance and strengthening civil society as well as measures to improve the business climate. The EU reiterated the importance of a stability-oriented macroeconomic policy and further progress in Public Finance Management.
"The EU shares the goals of the Tajik government to promote development, security and prosperity for its people. The EU reiterated its willingness to support Tajikistan in it reform process and its endeavour to improve the socio-economic conditions of the population" noted Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.
Human rights questions were also discussed, for example Tajikistan's efforts to reform the prison system and decrease the vulnerability of both prisoners and prison staff. The EU also suggested that Tajikistan further open up its political space in view of the Parliamentary and Presidential election in 2020.
The EU confirmed its continuing support to Tajikistan in its reform process, and in its endeavours to improve the socio-economic conditions of the population, as well to fight corruption. Bilateral development assistance provided to Tajikistan, particularly in the three key focal sectors of health, education and rural development was also discussed.
The EU welcomed Tajikistan's formal interest in upgrading current relations as well Tajikistan's interest in becoming a GSP+ beneficiary.
The Cooperation Council discussed the EU's Central Asia Strategy, adopted in June 2019, as well as the work to implement the EU's Europe-Asia Connectivity Strategy, adopted in September 2019. The two sides had an exchange of views on political developments in the region and the EU welcomed Tajikistan's leadership role in advancing regional cooperation in Central Asia, as well as Tajikistan's efforts to assist in the stabilisation of Afghanistan.