Ahead of the Joint Committee, a bilateral meeting between the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Minister of Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Eklil Hakimi took place, where they emphasised their strong commitment to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Minister Hakimi also met with the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, to discuss the EU’s contribution to sustainable development in Afghanistan as well as the importance of Afghanistan’s reform agenda and related EU support for the benefit of the Afghan people.
The Joint Committee enabled the EU and Afghanistan to discuss progress on the implementation of Afghanistan’s reform agenda agreed at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October 2016, notably the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) and the Self-Reliance through Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF).
The Joint Committee discussed the many areas of cooperation that have been reinforced as a result of the provisional entry into force of the CAPD on December 1, 2017 including, inter alia, human rights, gender equality including women’s rights and empowerment, development cooperation, trade and investment matters, migration, regional cooperation and connectivity. They also addressed cooperation on natural resources and financial services, as well as the security situation in Afghanistan.
The EU reaffirmed its strong support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and to promote good governance and the need for fighting corruption effectively. The EU stressed the importance of credible and timely elections in the country. Strengthening cooperation on migration through existing frameworks such as the Joint Way Forward was also discussed. The two sides addressed pressing humanitarian issues linked to the efficient delivery of aid to the people in need.
The Joint Committee also established two Special Working Groups in order to further strengthen work on specific topics:
- Special Working Group on Human Rights, Good Governance and Migration; and a
- Special Working Group on Economic and Social Development.
The meeting was co-chaired by Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director of Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service and by Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Senior representatives of the Afghan Ministries of Refugees and Repatriation, Women Affairs, Communication and Information Technology, Commerce, the Civil Aviation Authority, Da Afghanistan Bank, as well as the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the European Union participated in the meeting.
The next meeting of the Joint Committee will be held in Kabul in 2019.