This agreement, which was signed by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the Afghani Minister of Finance, Eklil Hakimi on 18 February, represents the first ever legally-binding framework for relations between the EU and Afghanistan.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said: "We are entering into a new phase of our cooperation. Our new agreement will allow the European Union to better support Afghanistan and the Afghan people, through working even more closely together. The agreement complements the new strategy on Afghanistan that our Union has just adopted, where we look at peace, security and development of the country as our shared priorities. It is a partnership agreement by name and by nature; it shows that the European Union will continue to stand by Afghanistan and the Afghan people.”
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica added: "At the October 2016 Brussels Conference, the European Union as a whole made the largest pledge of €5 billion to support Afghanistan's development agenda up to 2020. Today we confirm our engagement to be a strong partner of Afghanistan in its reform efforts. Our new agreement will give further impetus to our cooperation in a range of key areas such as development, gender equality, trade and investment and regional cooperation. The European Union will continue its support for a peaceful and prospering Afghanistan and to the benefit of the Afghan people."
The provisional application of the agreement, which was made possible by both the European Union and Afghanistan having completed the necessary internal procedures, will cover cooperation in a number of important areas, inter alia human rights, gender equality, development cooperation, trade and investment matters, migration and regional cooperation. A regular political dialogue will be established for Afghan and EU leaders to discuss issues of common interest, address challenges and create opportunities for a stronger partnership.
The provisional application of the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development will also allow the establishment of a Joint Committee that will ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the areas of the agreement that are provisionally applied. Two special working groups will also be created in order to further strengthen work on human rights, good governance and migration, and on economic and social development. The first meeting of the EU-Afghanistan Joint Committee will take place in early 2018. The agreement will enter into force once all EU Member States have ratified it.
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