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