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European Commission

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Almazbek Atambaev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic

Press point/Brussels

17 September 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon,

I am indeed very happy to welcome today President Atambaev in his first visit to the European institutions.

We had a very fruitful meeting and I am confident that this visit will further enhance our partnership and cooperation to our mutual benefit.

Kyrgyzstan is a very important partner for the EU in the strategic region of Central Asia. The EU highly values the strategic choice of Kyrgyzstan to pursue political and economic reforms and to consolidate a democratic multiparty system. I had a very open and good exchange with President Atambaev about this matter, about his commitment to democracy, to free elections, to the modernisation of his country.

Building and living in democracy is by definition an unfinished job. Kyrgyzstan still faces many challenges, in upholding the rule of law, respecting human rights and promoting inter-ethnic reconciliation. It is therefore important that the partners of Kyrgyzstan can support the country in consolidating its democracy and also in the further support socio-economic reforms. This is precisely what we are doing in the European Union.

A concrete proof is the Agreement for the Promotion of Rule of Law, with particular emphasis on Transparency and Accountability, whose signature we have just witnessed. This agreement will be backed by a financial commitment of 13.5 Million euros.

We also discussed the importance to fight against corruption, judiciary reform and sustainable development. Let me highlight in this regard the recent adoption of a National Sustainable Development Strategy. This is an important document that will map the way ahead on Kyrgyzstan's development. And I have congratulated President Atambaev for this important step.

The economic rebound in Kyrgyzstan this year, as you know there is a 7,4% growth expected, is very encouraging. I have suggested continuing efforts in the implementation of structural and macro-economic reforms that will enable the country to continue on a path of sustainable and inclusive growth. And we are committed to support Kyrgyzstan in these efforts, including by providing macro-financial assistance for a total of 30 million € in the coming months.

I believe that our trade relations may also be further enhanced in the near future and therefore we have touched upon the advantages of the European Union reformed Generalised Scheme of Preferences. I am certain that an improvement of the business and investment climate will also boost trade and investment, in benefit of citizens and companies in Kyrgyzstan.

Moreover, the framework agreement signed by Kyrgyzstan and the European Investment Bank will be beneficial, because it will allow now the EIB to make investments in the country. I look forward to a further increase of the European Union investments in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan remains one priority country for EU development cooperation. And we are ready to deepen and enhance this partnership and provide substantial development assistance to Kyrgyzstan for the coming years. Our officials are now discussing what will be in exact terms the development aid cooperation for the next 7 years.

Finally, we also discussed the importance of some regional issues.

President Atambaev,

It was really a pleasure to receive you here in Brussels. I really enjoyed our very open discussion, I like this way of speaking frankly and open. And also because today it is the President's birthday. So you can imagine, as a gift President Atambaev has a visit to Brussels and to the European Commission. And we have discovered that we are born the same year, apparently it was a good year. So, congratulations for your birthday, all the best for you, for your life and also all the best for your family, for your government and for the people of Kyrgyzstan.

I thank you.

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