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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
EU Speaking points of President José Manuel Barroso at the press conference with President Elbegdorj of Mongolia
Ulan Bator 17 November 2013
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first of all thank President Elbegdorj for his warm welcome. It is a great pleasure to be the first President of the European Commission visiting Mongolia. Today's high level meeting confirms the new beginning in our bilateral relations. I think we can say it is a historical day in the relations between Mongolia and the European Union.
We have been following with interest and admiration Mongolia's journey in these last two decades. Mongolia's achievement in building a democracy is quite remarkable. You have earned a lot of respect in the international community.
Rest assured Mr. President that you are not walking alone, the European Union wants to be your partner in this journey.
This why we have signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement last April. This agreement gives us a new framework for expanding our bilateral relations. It is also an expression of the European Union's clear commitment with Mongolia and its citizens. We will broaden the scope of our bilateral relations, enhance our political dialogue, assist and support democracy, rule of law and sustainable development in Mongolia and increase our trade and economic cooperation.
Our support to Mongolia's development is also very concrete through our development co-operation. Today with the President, we have discussed some concrete ways to foster that cooperation, for instance in the field of education, exchanges and also research and science. We believe that the European Union has know-how that can be shared for the benefit also of Mongolia. And we have been also following with great attention Mongolia regarding Europe’s standards. So we believe in these areas, our development cooperation can assist the efforts of reform in Mongolia and indeed we are ready to double our budget for this development cooperation in the next period 2014-2020.
Mongolia is registering impressive growth rates. The economic potential is immense. It is important that this period is used to modernise the economy and launch the basis for an open and rules based economic environment that can generate sustainable and also inclusive growth.
The European Union is a very good partner that Mongolia can have in this process. We are the world's largest market by value and also very generous as far as trade preferences are concerned. Indeed, the European Commission has proposed to Member States a GSP+ agreement with Mongolia; and Mongolia's economy can also greatly benefit from an increased cooperation through trade but also from a regulatory convergence with European Union.
This is also why, as President Elbegdorj as mentioned in our very constructive and friendly meeting, we have discussed very practical ways of increasing cooperation. For instance I proposed what we call “Mission for Growth”, a mission of European officials and business people to Mongolia in 2014, combining political meetings with an economic dimension. This is important to consolidate and expand the links between Mongolia’s economy and European business.
We also spoke about what can be done to increase the opportunities for scholarships and education cooperation with Mongolia.
But our relations are not just limited to bilateral aspects. We share common values and common interests and we want to be partners at a global scale. I welcome the growing Mongolian engagement in international affairs, as demonstrated by your recent admission to the OSCE, your Chairmanship of the Community of Democracies and your involvement in Central Asia and DPRK but also in other parts of the world.
Given Mongolia's experience in democratic transition, your voice is particularly relevant.
I also think that your policy of "third neighbours" is also a good way of developing a network of relations which goes beyond your immediate neighbourhood. And certainly the EU is part of this effort to increase cooperation with Mongolia.
Let me reiterate that it is an enormous pleasure to visit your country. I have a great respect and admiration for Mongolia's history, for your identity, for your culture and for what you have been giving to the world.
But it is even more exciting than looking at the past of this country that we so much respect is the brighter future that you building with your citizens. A future that we want to build with you as partners.
And I sincerely hope that I will be able to reciprocate to you this warm welcome in Brussels next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our relations.
I thank you for your attention