EU-Kyrgyzstan Cooperation Council

F.P. Report

BRUSSELS: Zheenbek Kulubaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic and Jan Lipavský, Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and the Kyrgyz Republic held its nineteenth meeting on Tuesday, 15 November, in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by  Jan Lipavský from the EU side, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, on behalf of Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Kyrgyz delegation was chaired by the Minister of Foreign affairs,  Zheenbek Kulubaev.

The Cooperation Council reviewed the positive development in bilateral relations, including the provisional timeline for the signing of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, as well as EU support for Kyrgyzstan’s reforms in the areas of the judiciary, education, rural development and water management, also in view of the implementation of the multi-annual indicative cooperation programme 2021-27.

Ministers discussed the strengthening of the rule of law, human rights, including freedom of media, progress in judiciary and good governance. The Cooperation Council also assessed the Kyrgyz macroeconomic situation and trade, with the objective for the EU to help addressing the most critical needs and risk factors, including high inflation. The EU and the Kyrgyz Republic engaged in a frank and detailed discussion on human rights and good governance issues. The EU expressed concern about the overall negative trend on fundamental human rights notably as regards a shrinking space for civil society to operate freely and increasing pressure on freedom of speech.

Foreign Minister Lipavský and Foreign Minister Kulubaev discussed opportunities to increase regional cooperation.  In the session dedicated to international issues, particular attention was paid to the violent clashes at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border last September. The EU enquired about the steps and challenges in de-escalating tensions on the joint border, and reiterated its offer to address the root causes of the bilateral conflict and to promote confidence-building measures.

The Cooperation Council also addressed the development of the Kyrgyz Republic’s relations with its key partners in the neighbourhood and beyond, Kyrgyz’s efforts to assist in the stabilisation of Afghanistan, and exchanged about expectations with regard to the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference in Samarkand on 18 November 2022.