EU-Uzbekistan Friendship Group Inaugurated in Brussels

On 29 April 2021, the inauguration of the European Union-Uzbekistan Friendship Group, established in the European Parliament, was held in hybrid format.

The event was attended by Members of the European Parliament Richard Czarnecki (the founding chair of the EU-Uzbekistan Friendship Group), Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Fulvio Martusciello, among others; as well as Mr Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Directors at the European External Action Service; representatives of European analytical, business circles, and media.

From the Uzbek side, the First Deputy Chairman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis Sodik Safoev; the First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis Akmal Saidov and the Chairman of the Committee on Interethnic Relations and Friendly Relations with Foreign Countries under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan Rustambek Kurbanov, took the floor.

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First Deputy Chairman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis Sodik Safoev noted that the establishment of the EU-Uzbekistan Friendship Group is a historic event in Uzbek-European relations and this structure, first created in the European Parliament, will become a “bridge” between the two sides.

MEP Richard Czarnecki highly appreciated the ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan and noted that the creation of the EU-Uzbekistan Friendship Group is an important milestone in relations between the European Union and Uzbekistan.

Other speakers noted that Uzbekistan is open to closer international cooperation, conditions have been created for investment and economic growth. In particular, there is a significant increase in the interest of European investors in Uzbekistan. The country has the potential to become one of the strongest economies in the post-Soviet space.

The EU-Uzbekistan friendship group is a cross-party non-partisan platform that will promote high-level dialogue among European and Uzbek decision makers, business community and civil society in order to bring Uzbekistan and the EU closer together.

Through constructive gatherings on a wide variety of topics and parliamentary diplomacy the friendship group aims at intensifying relations between the people working in and for Uzbekistan, the EU institutions and Member States.

The friendship group aims to analyse and highlight important issues emanating from Uzbekistan’s geostrategic position and put Uzbekistan into a broader context. Such issues include Uzbekistan’s evolving relationship with Europe. These issues will be analysed and discussed through cultural and soft diplomacy activities with the broader participation of civil society and business community.

Through critical but constructive debates, smart parliamentarian diplomacy activities, the friendship group aims to promote the actions needed to intensify relations between Uzbekistan and the EU institutions as well as its Member States.

With its cross-party, non-partisan structure, the EU-Uzbekistan friendship group will be open to all Members of the European Parliament.

MEP Richard Czarnecki is the founding chair of the friendship group, and Ms Ipek Tekdemir became the Secretary General.