AGEFI Luxembourg - novembre 2023

AGEFI Luxembourg 14 Novembre 2023 Economie F ormer Ambassador of Uzbe- kistan to the Benelux coun- tries and Head of Missions to the EU and NATO Dilyor Khakimov (portrait), who has completed his mission in late October, summarizes achieve- ments of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the Benelux countries and the EU in recent years. Over the past few years thanks to the open, constructive and pragmatic foreign policy of Presi- dent Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the joint efforts of the parties, the partnership between Uzbekistan and the EU and its member states has acquired a compre- hensive character. Uzbekistan’smultifaceted coop- eration with the EU and its member states, including the Benelux countries, has reached a qualitatively new level. Uzbekistan considers the EU as one of the most important international partners. In turn, the EU supports the large-scale democratic and socio- economic reforms under the leadership of Presi- dent Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Uzbekistan and the European Union have estab- lished mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas. An intensive political dialogue is underway. Over the past year, two meetings took place between the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the President of the European Council Charles Michel - in Cholpon-Ata (June 2) and in New York (September 18, 2023). On 27 and 28 October 2022, President Charles Michel visited Uzbekistan and met with Presi- dent Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The two leaders have reaffirmed that in recent years the relations be- tween Uzbekistan and the European Union have been elevated to a qualitatively new level and gained a comprehensive nature. Today Uzbekistan and the EU are preparing to conclude a Enhanced Partnership and Coopera- tionAgreement (EPCA) , initialed on June 6, 2022. The signing of this comprehensive document will take bilateral relations to a qualitatively new level and create a modern, solid basis for deepening bi- lateral cooperation in all dimensions. Uzbekistan takes an active part in promoting in- terregional dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Central Asia. In 2022, the first Central Asia-EU conference on connectivity was held in Samarkand, which be- came a historic event in the rapprochement of the two regions. The President of Uzbekistan took part in two “CentralAsia-EU” high level regionalmeet- ings in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. As a result of the leaders’ decision, a Joint Roadmap for Deepen- ing Ties between the EU and Central Asia has beendeveloped, whichwas adopted during the EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg on 23 October this year. It supports the commitment of the countries of the Central Asian region and EUmember states to develop mul- tifaceted, mutually beneficial cooperation in five key areas: 1) political dialogue; 2) development of trade and economic rela- tions; 3) interaction in the energy sector, including within the framework of the EU Global Gateway strategy and the Euro- peanGreenDeal; 4) cooperation in security issues; 5) as well as in the field of cultural and humanitar- ian relations. In2023, the EuropeanParliament adopted a report on Uzbekistan . The document reflects the newgeostrategic importance of EU-CentralAsia re- lations, inwhichUzbekistanplays a central role, the positive developments in Uzbekistan-EU relations and regional integration initiatives. On 23-25October 2023 Minister of ForeignAffairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov visited Luxem- bourg to participate in the EU-CentralAsiaMinis- terial meeting, as well as in the Global Gateway Forum 2023 in Brussels. During his visit, Minister Saidov engaged in number of meetings with vari- ous EU officials, including EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Jutta Urpilainen, the Commissioner for International Partnerships, and Teresa Chervinska, Vice President of the Eu- ropean Investment Bank. He also discussed perspectives of further develop- ment of bilateral relations betweenUzbekistan and a number of the EUmember states with his Euro- pean colleagues. At the meetings, the parties con- firmed the readiness to further deepen bilateral and multilateral partnerships, develop mutually beneficial and multifaceted cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan. In the first half of 2024, on the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, supported by all the Central Asian and EU countries, the first ever EU-Central Asia Summit will be held in Uzbekistan. Economic, trade and investment cooperation between Uzbekistan and the European Union is developing dynamically. An important step in this direction was the grant- ing of GSP+ beneficiary status to Uzbekistan in April 2021, which opened access for a large num- ber of Uzbek goods to the EUmarket. Uzbekistan’s participation in theGSP+ contributes to the growth of trade volumes. Since the begin- ning of this year, Uzbekistan’s trade turnoverwith EU countries has increased by 35%, and large in- vestment projects are being implemented with leading European companies. Bilateral trade turnover in 2022 amounted to 4.5 billion $ and in January-August 2023 to 3.8 billion $. Uzbekistan’s exports to the European Union countries in 2022 increased to 794.6million $, and in January-August 2023 exceeded 787million $. TheNumber of enter- prises with European capital in Uzbekistan has more than doubled: 1069 in 2023. In bilateral andmultilateral dialog, the priority has been given to attracting direct investments, the ad- vanced technologies, best practices and high stan- dards of EU companies to Uzbekistan to facilitate the transition of the country and the region to a “green” economy. Uzbekistan is interested in strengthening coopera- tionwith the EU in countering climate change and improving the sustainabilityof ecosystems through the implementation of targeted projects using ad- vanced European knowledge and technologies. In 2021Uzbekistan’sMinistry of Energy has signed a 1.2 billlion $ deal withDutch-registered company Stone City Energy for a gas turbine power plant. Stone City Energy has already startedwork on the designing, financing, construction, commissioning, operation and management of the 1,560MW power plant over a 25-year period in theAngor dis- trict of the Surkhandarya region in southeast Uzbekistan. It is also important to continue implementing pro- jects aimed at mitigating the effects of the drying up of the Aral Sea and rehabilitating the situation in the Aral Sea region by attracting additional funds to the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security. In this context Uzbekistan invited the European Union to co-organize the first International Climate Forum to be held in Samarkand in 2024. Uzbekistan consistently promotes initiatives and projects aimed at developing new international transport and economic corridors connecting our region with the main world markets of Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Inmodern geopolitical conditions, this has become one of the most important conditions for ensuring the economic security and growth of states, espe- cially in Central Asian region, located in the heart of Eurasia, at a relative distance from the leading seaports and routes. One of the main priorities is the realization of transcontinental transport corridor projects. During the EU-Central Asia meeting in Cholpon- Ata in June 2023, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward a number of initiatives to radically ex- pand trade and economic relations with the EU, primarily through the creation of sustainable trade and logistics chains and effective mechanisms to support mutual supplies, as well as the formation of interconnected transport corridors. In this context, Uzbekistan supports a comprehen- sive study on sustainable transport links between Europe and Central Asia, which was prepared by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Devel- opment (EBRD) and published by the European Commission as part of the Global Gateway strat- egy. This paper identifies themost stable transport connections and investment opportunities for im- proving ties between the countries of Central Asia and Europe. Uzbekistan is consistently expanding cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere with the EU and its member states, including the Benelux countries. Over a period of 25 years, more than 80 projects have been implemented jointlywith the European Unionunder the Trans-Europeanmobility scheme for university studies (Tempus) programme, worth 32.2 million €, involving 55 higher educational in- stitutions inUzbekistan and 71 higher educational institutions in EUmember states. The Erasmus+ educationprogramis implementing 43 projectswith a budget ofmore than 36.6million € to improve the capacity of higher education, in- volving 65 higher education institutions, more than 20 branch offices and organizations inUzbekistan, and 117 European higher education institutions. The parties also cooperate actively in the field of human rights and freedoms, democratization and the development of civil society. For instance, the 4th EU-CentralAsia Civil Society Forumwas suc- cessfully organized in Tashkent on 9-10 March 2023. InApril this year, the EU Special Represen- tative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, visited Uzbekistan. Moreover, active cooperation with the Benelux countries is also under way to preserve and pro- moteUzbekistan’s historical and cultural heritage. In recent years, in close cooperationwith the Soviet Field of Glory Foundation, a great work was un- dertaken to commemorate 101Uzbek soldierswho were killed in theAmersfoort concentration camp during the SecondWorldWar. Remko Reiding, chairman of the Soviet Field of Glory Foundation, which has beenworking for the past 20 years to immortalize the memory of 101 Uzbek soldiers, has visited Uzbekistan several times over the past few years. OnOctober 2019, the presentation of the novel One Hundred and One , dedicated to the fate of 101 Uzbek soldiers who fell victim to the Amersfoort concentration camp was organized in The Hague. The Embassy of Uzbekistan in the Benelux coun- tries and representatives of the Dutch community annually hold traditional ceremonies dedicated to the memory of Uzbek warriors. (Thanks to H.E. Mr. Dilyor KHAKIMOV, Ambassador in Luxembourg,BrusselsandTheHague2017-2023forthisinformation) Anewmomentum for Uzbekistan and the EU enhanced partnership L e 16 octobre 2023, la minis- tre des Finances, Yuriko Backes, a accueilli Janet Yellen, secrétaire au Trésor des États-Unis, au ministère des Fi- nances pour une entrevue bila- térale. Il s'agit de la première visite d'un membre du cabinet de l'administration du président Biden au Luxembourg. Janet Yellen a également participé à une réunion de l'Eurogroupe, qui s'est tenue à Kirchberg dans l'après-midi. Pendant la réunion bilatérale, les ministres ont abordé les liens écono- miques entre le Luxembourg et les États-Unis, en mettant particulière- ment l'accent sur le domaine financier. Ces relations financières entre les États-Unis et le Luxembourg ont une histoire de plus de cinquante ans et demeurent extrêmement solides. En effet, les institutions bancaires et les gestionnaires d'actifs américains jouent un rôle de premier plan dans le secteur financier du Luxembourg, représentant 20% des actifs gérés dans l'industrie des fonds luxembour- geoise. Elles ont aussi discuté des évo- lutions récentes dans le domaine macroéconomique, ainsi que des enjeux géopolitiques auxquels le monde est actuellement confronté. Elles ont particulièrement réaffirmé leur engagement à garantir l'efficacité des sanctions imposées par les États- Unis et l'Union européenne, en coopé- ration avec leurs alliés et partenaires, vis-à-vis de la Russie. De plus, elles ont souligné l'importance de prévenir toute tentative de contournement des sanctions. Après leur réunion bilatérale et la ren- contre de la secrétaire au Trésor avec les ministres de l'Eurogroupe, laminis- tre Yuriko Backes et la secrétaire au Trésor américaine Janet Yellen ont conjointement rendu hommage au général Patton et aux 5.074 soldats américains tombés au cours de la Seconde Guerremondiale, inhumés au cimetière américain de Luxembourg à Hamm. Elles ont déposé une gerbe de fleurs sur la tombe de Nancy Leo, l'unique femme reposant à Hamm, rendant ainsi hommage à cette 2nd Lieutenant duMaryland décédée le 24 juillet 1945 à l'âge de 23 ans. La ministre Yuriko Backes a déclaré : «Ce fut un vrai plaisir et honneur d'ac- cueillir la secrétaire au Trésor améri- caine, Janet Yellen, ici au Luxembourg, mettant en lumière nos liens profonds. Ces échanges représentent une occa- sion précieuse pour renforcer notre col- laboration dans tous les domaines. Notre visite au cimetière américain témoigne de notre profond respect pour les sacrifices consentis par le passé en faveur de la liberté. Dans le contexte géopolitique actuel, marqué par des défis importants, notre déter- mination à maintenir et à construire sur les liens étroits entre nos deux nations pour les générations futures est plus forte que jamais.» La secrétaire Janet Yellen a dit : «Je suis reconnaissant de l'occasion qui m'est donnée de discuter de la poursuite de notre solide coopération avec le gou- vernement luxembourgeois. Le cime- tière américain au Luxembourg est profondément émouvant et constitue un témoignage vivant du lien solide entre les États-Unis et le Luxembourg, ainsi qu'un rappel poignant de l'impor- tance des valeurs démocratiques que nous partageons avec l'Europe.» Source : ministère des Finances (de g. à dr.) Janet YELLEN, secrétaire du Trésor des États-Unis ; Yuriko BACKES, ministre des Finances ©SIP / Claude Piscitelli Yuriko BACKES accueille Janet YELLEN à Luxembourg «Les États-Unis jouent un rôle de premier plan dans le secteur financier du Luxembourg »