BRUSSELS -- The Council of the European Union (EU) Monday (July 16) adopted directives for the negotiation of a new Enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement with Uzbekistan, which will replace a 1999 agreement and further strengthen EU-Uzbek relations, the council announced on its official website.
The new agreement is expected to cover areas including "political dialogue and reforms, rule of law, justice, freedom and security, human rights, migration, trade, as well as economic and sustainable development", according to the statement.
The deal "will promote [a] favourable business and investment environment. It will also provide for co-operation on foreign policy issues and global challenges such as climate change, corruption and the fight against terrorism," said the statement.
Uzbekistan's new leadership has made "significant progress" in terms of reforms, noted the council, including efforts to "improve human rights, to develop regional co-operation with its Central Asian neighbours and international partners and to promote security and stability in the region".
The new agreement will help the EU "to step up its engagement to further support these efforts and to bring the bilateral relations to a new level in the interest of both the European Union and Uzbekistan", the statement said.