Green development and business climate - in these two main areas, the Delegation of the European Union in Turkmenistan will focus joint activities with the government and civil society of the country in the coming years. This was reported during a briefing held at the residence of the EU delegation in Ashgabat.
At the meeting with representatives of the Turkmen press, correspondents of foreign media accredited in Turkmenistan, as well as local bloggers popular on social networks, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Turkmenistan Renata Wrobel spoke about the plans of the diplomatic mission under the work program until 2027.
– Recently, we held extensive consultations with the government of Turkmenistan, international financial organizations, civil society and the business community on the priorities of our work for the next years. And we were pleased to see that our views on these priorities, which are based on in-depth analysis, coincide with the assessments of other stakeholders and with the goals of the country's government, - said Ms Wrobel.
As a result of the consultations, it was decided to focus the work of the EU Delegation in Turkmenistan on two main aspects: green development (environmentally friendly economic growth, transition to a green economy, combating the negative effects of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint) and improving the business climate with a focus on agricultural development and rural areas and support for trade development.
– We will pay special attention to the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and enterprises led or created by women and young people will receive special support, -assured Renata Wrobel.
Additional areas of this work will include gender equality and underway regional projects, including EU-funded Ready4Trade, which is helping to move Turkmenistan towards membership in the World Trade Organization.
– Last week, Turkmenistan submitted an application to join the WTO. In this regard, the work of the Ready4Trade project also includes export training for local entrepreneurs. To date, several small sewing and handicraft enterprises have entered the European market. And this is just the beginning - many more companies have already received consulting support from the project, - said Renata Wrobel.
Another important area is the rule of law program for Central Asia. In Turkmenistan, the project is aimed at creating a favorable business environment, combating economic crime and money laundering.
The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation briefly spoke about the regional project to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic and the launched STRIVE Asia project to prevent violent extremism.
– The European Union has invested millions of euros in these projects. It gives us great pleasure to see the high level of participation of the government and other partners from Turkmenistan in both of these initiatives, said Ms Wrobel.
She explained that the COVID-19 prevention project is being implemented in conjunction with the WHO office in Turkmenistan and includes the purchase of laboratory equipment, training of personnel of local hospitals and laboratories. STRIVE Asia is implemented jointly with UNDP and is aimed at countering terrorism and radicalization in the Central Asian region, increasing resistance to violent terrorism.
Renata Wrobel also mentioned the ERASMUS + office in Turkmenistan. The office now connects European and Turkmen educational institutions and offers opportunities for the exchange of experience and knowledge among teachers and students.
Overall, Turkmenistan participates in more than 20 EU-funded projects. Local managers of some of them were present at the briefing, and journalists and bloggers had the opportunity to address them on specific issues, after Renata Wrobel and EU Ambassador Diego Ruiz Alonso held their Q&A session with media representatives.
The EU began implementing cooperation projects in Turkmenistan in 1997. Over time, the partnership has consistently expanded, and the new program of interaction until 2027 assumes an exit to a more intensive level of dialogue.