16 May 19

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

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The European Union (EU) has outlined its vision for a renewed partnership with Central Asia, updating its strategy on relations with the region set out in 2007.

The new Joint Communication adopted today by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy sets out a fresh vision for a stronger partnership with the five countries of Central Asia: Kazakhstan; the Kyrgyz Republic; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; and Uzbekistan.

The development comes at a time when the region is developing it communications with both Asia and Europe, and a number of the countries are keen to participate in China’s new Silk Road.

The new Silk Road (part of the Belt and Road initiative also known as One Belt, One Road, or OBOR) is a Chinese economic strategy to seek better access for Chinese-made products in European markets, which includes acquiring stakes in ports and other transport facilities, and cooperation agreements with countries along the Silk Road routes.

“Central Asia has always been a key region: for its history, for its culture, and for its role of connecting East and West. Today it is becoming more and more strategic, amid positive internal and regional dynamics, as well as increasing global challenges that demand a strengthened partnership”, said High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini.

“Resilience and prosperity will be the pillars of our cooperation with Central Asia, of our support to sustainable development and reform processes, to the benefit of our citizens.” The Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, added: “The European Union is a leading development partner for Central Asia, supporting the region with over €1 billion between 2014-2020 in areas such as the rule of law, environment, water, trade and border management. Through a renewed partnership, we want to strengthen our engagement with Central Asian partners to help them make the region more resilient, prosperous and better inter-connected.”

Focussing on resilience and prosperity, as well as regional cooperation, the Joint Communication adopted today will now be discussed in the Council and the European Parliament. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, together with Commissioner Mimica, intends to present formally the new EU Strategy on Central Asia to her Central Asian counterparts at the 15th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting, which will take place on 7 July in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

The full Joint Communication can be accessed here.

Source: © European Union, 1995-2019

Source: Portseurope

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