>@Shirin Wheeler/EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Republic of Uzbekistan signed today in Washington a framework agreement establishing the legal basis for the EIB's activities in Uzbekistan, including the provision of finance and technical assistance. The EU bank can now support public and private sector projects in the areas of infrastructure, energy and energy efficiency and assist SMEs in the country. The Republic of Uzbekistan is the fourth state in Central Asia to establish a partnership with the EIB. Similar agreements have been signed with Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, which have already resulted in more than EUR 700 million of financing.

EIB Vice-President Vazil Hudák commented: "Today is a great day for both, the EIB and Uzbekistan. I am very pleased that Uzbekistan is joining the family of countries in which the EIB operates. Today's agreement is a significant landmark allowing the EIB to proceed with the financing of investments that are mutually beneficial to Uzbekistan and the European Union. Our joint activities will improve citizens' living standards and strengthen the country's competitiveness. We are determined to move on quickly from this important formal step in our bilateral relations to concrete project support in the country".

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Jamshid Kuchkarov commented: "Uzbekistan attaches significant importance to the signing of the Framework Agreement with the European Investment Bank, which opens up additional opportunities for attracting European investments and technologies to the economy of Uzbekistan. We hope that engagement with the EIB within the framework of this agreement will allow implementing investment projects with practical impact on the promotion of reforming various sectors of the economy of the country, including the attraction of advanced European technologies. The development of cooperation with the EIB is in line with the priorities of the reforms of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev aimed at improving the business and investment climate within the framework of the Strategy for Development of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021".

Ambassador Peter Burian, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, stated: "the launching of EIB activities in Uzbekistan, which is a strategically important partner of the European Union in Central Asia, is a positive moment for relations between Europe and Uzbekistan. The European Union is ready to provide technical assistance and to join forces with European as well International Financial Institutions in order to attract additional financing for fostering private sector development and enhancing corporate governance, as well as to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Working closely with the EIB will enable the country's authorities to better support the country's ambitious reform process, generating direct benefits for the people of Uzbekistan".

Supporting the EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia

The launch of EIB operations in the Republic of Uzbekistan supports the EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia. This strategy recognises the increasing importance of Central Asia for the EU and aims to strengthen the links between the European Union and its neighbouring countries by promoting prosperity, stability and security.

The loans provided by the EIB Group in this region come from the lending window for Asia provided under the mandate from the European Council and European Parliament for the period 2014-2020.  EUR 182 million of this has been made available for use in Central Asia. Additionally, the EU bank finances projects in Central Asian countries under the Climate Action & Environment Facility. This facility supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and projects that increase the security of the EU's energy supply.

So far the EIB has signed operations amounting to some EUR 710 million in Central Asian countries to finance infrastructure projects and SMEs.