“No ratification of Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan now”

Commission to answer open questions / MEPs' visit to Turkmenistan / Human rights situation unsatisfying

Commission to answer open questions / MEPs' visit to Turkmenistan / Human rights situation unsatisfying

The trade agreement of the EU with Turkmenistan will not be ratified by the European Parliament in the immediate future. MEPs who have just returned from a visit in the country call for a postponement. “I am going to propose not to ratify the agreement now. The human rights situation in Turkmenistan is unclear and there are too many questions still to be answered”, said Daniel Caspary MEP who is the European Parliament rapporteur on the agreement.

EU Trade agreements with third countries are subject to approval by the European Parliament. The CDU Euro MP intends to postpone the plenary vote for the time being. “The statements of the government, the European ambassadors, the NGOs and our findings on the ground do not go together. We cannot take a decision on that basis. We have to find out about the real situation first”, said Caspary.

The plan is to call on the Commission to resolve the pending issues with the government of Turkmenistan. “We will sum up the issues which we think have to be addressed and cleared up before we can consider ratifying the agreement.” The plenary resolution is supposed to call on the Commission to present an approach on how the human rights situation in Turkmenistan can be improved. “The question is how we can have more co-operation in economic matters and at the same time improve peoples’ lives in the country. And we have to be clear about the role of the trade agreement”, the CDU MEP said.

Caspary is considering to ask the Commission for a binding assurance to cancel the agreement if the Parliament so wishes. “If the human rights situation does not improve the agreement has to be suspended. We have to have that option.” If, on the other hand, the country transformed into a state under the rule of law, it would make sense to reward the country. “Only in that case can we think about a partnership and cooperation agreement.”