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Turkmenistan, EU Discuss Ties in Energy, Transport

By Aygerim Sarymbetova May 17, 2024

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The joint conference of Turkmenistan and the European Union dedicated to 30 years of cooperation was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on May 14, 2024. / Akipress.com

Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Rashit Meredow and EU's Special Representative for Central Asia Terhi Hakala have discussed prospects for cooperation in energy and transport.

The two sides exchanged their views on the current partnership agenda and prospects for further development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the European Union (EU), in a meeting held in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, on May 13, according to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry's website.

“Cooperation in the areas of environmental protection, green and digital transformation, education, energy, transport and logistics were identified as priority areas,” the report added.

The two sides talked about the organizational issues of the ministerial conference in the format of “Central Asia-European Union” to be held in Ashgabat.

The agenda of an upcoming joint conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the EU was also discussed.

The Joint Conference of Turkmenistan and the EU dedicated to 30 years of cooperation was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on May 14. The conference featured thematic sessions on successful partnership projects in the fields of education, trade, security and the green economy.

An exhibition dedicated to the achievements of 30 years of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the EU was also opened at the Turkmen Foreign Ministry.

A ceremony was held at the event to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan, the state-owned Turkmengas and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Meanwhile, Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced on May 14 that the Turkish and Azerbaijani authorities reached an agreement on the transportation of Turkmenistan's natural gas to Türkiye via Azerbaijan and Georgia.

He said at a signing ceremony in Istanbul that the deal also included bringing Azerbaijani and surrounding regional energy resources to Türkiye, some of which would then be transported to European markets.

Turkmenistan holds the key to initiating the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCP) project, which aims to create an underwater pipeline for Turkmen natural gas to join the European energy market. It takes into account the interests of transit countries and guarantees Turkmen natural gas users in Europe consistent access to resources.

If built, the TCP would transport about 32 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea to solve Europe's energy problems, diversifying its gas supplies.

Critical considerations for the TCP project to move forward include funding sources, especially in light of the European restrictions on fossil fuel financing, and the logistics of integrating this new supply into the already full Southern Gas Corridor infrastructure.

The EU is counting on Turkmen gas supplies via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Türkiye to provide energy security to the continent, which has been dependent on Russia.

In March, Turkmenistan and the EU signed the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The PCA, signed in 1998, was awaiting ratification by the European Parliament. Since then, bilateral relations have been governed by a temporary trade agreement. In 2015, a declaration on energy cooperation highlighting the Trans-Caspian project between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Türkiye and the EU was signed in Ashgabat.