SEnECa Blog Post: Uzbekistan — Germany: A wide range of cooperation

The official visit of the President Shavkat Mirzi­yoyev to Germany in January 2019 can be consi­dered as one of the key foreign policy events of this year in terms of further enhan­cement of Uzbekistan’s multi­fa­ceted relations on the inter­na­tional area. The negotia­tions in Berlin are a signi­ficant step within Uzbek diplomacy towards Europe.

Germany is one of the main trade and economic partners of Uzbekistan in Europe. At the end of last year, the trade turnover between the countries amounted at $ 772 million with an increase of 24.5 percent in compa­rison to 2017. Additio­nally, Germany is one the countries that provide signi­ficant support to Uzbekistan. With financial and technical assis­tance of the German government, Uzbekistan has imple­mented a number of important projects which amount at 320 million euro in total. Within the framework of the UN, OSCE and the European Union, Uzbekistan and Germany carried out constructive coope­ration on the global and regional agenda in a multi­la­teral format. Tashkent and Berlin hold similar or coinciding positions on many issues, including the fight against terrorism, organized crime, drug traffi­cking which benefits the fruitful inter­action of the two countries on the inter­na­tional area.

In designating Central Asia as a region of «strategic impor­tance», Berlin invariably empha­sizes the impor­tance of this direction of ​​foreign policy at the national and European levels. Germany tradi­tio­nally positioned itself as the leading European country in Central Asia, which has managed to establish close partnerships with all countries in the region. It should be noted that, Germany became the first European country to open its diplo­matic missions in all Central Asian capitals was the main initiator of the «EU Strategy» on Central Asia. Currently, German diplomacy is actively involved in the prepa­ration of an updated version of this document, the adoption of which is scheduled for 2019.

Of parti­cular interest to Uzbekistan in Germany has risen sharply due to the large-scale reforms of President Shavkat Mirzi­yoyev to liberalize and democratize the state. According to Eckhart Franz, a repre­sen­tative of the Ministry of Economy and Energy of Germany, two years ago it was «absolutely impos­sible to imagine the current recovery in bilateral economic relations».

During his speech at the inter­na­tional Uzbek-German round table held in September 2018 in Tashkent, Niels Annen who is Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office stated that Germany fully supports the achie­vement of Tashkent in «opening its borders and including Afgha­nistan in regional coope­ration».

The further deepening and expansion of multi­di­men­sional relations both at the bilateral and multi­la­teral levels with one of the leading states of Europe will make an important contri­bution to the sustainable develo­pment of not only Uzbekistan, but also of the entire Central Asian region. The develo­pment of in-depth political, trade, economic, cultural and humani­tarian relations with one of the largest indus­trial and techno­lo­gi­cally developed economies, not only in Europe but also in the world will allow Uzbekistan to signi­fi­cantly increase its potential during the period of dynamic reforms and moder­niz­ation of the country. The influx of high-quality invest­ments and advanced techno­logies from Germany will ensure the growth of the indus­trial sector of the Uzbek economy and help to increase the export of compe­titive products to nearby markets in South and East Asia. The strategic level of the Uzbek-German relations will be one of the key factors in ensuring the security and develo­pment of Central Asia.

SEnECA blog contri­bution by Mr. Ulugbek Normatov, leading research fellow at the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan