The European Union member states have adopted a new strategy for Central Asia, noting that the document aims at forging a “strong and durable partnership” between the European Union and countries of the region.

The EU foreign ministers’ meeting that took place in Brussels on June 17 adopted conclusions that, in particular, state that “the Council welcomes strengthened relations between the European Union (EU) and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan since the adoption of the first EU Strategy on Central Asia in 2007.”

“In a world characterized by growing interdependence and interconnection, the EU and Central Asia are bound by strong mutual interests and are now closer than ever.  The Council underlines the significant opportunities that positive dynamics in Central Asia have created for taking the EU-Central Asia partnership forward.”

The conclusions further state that “the Council underlines the importance of purposeful and target-oriented implementation of the new EU Strategy on Central Asia, which is a valuable opportunity for the EU and Central Asia to forge a strong and durable partnership for the mutual benefit of their citizens.  The Council invites the countries of Central Asia to work with the EU to that end.” 

The EU Council of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed its commitment to conclude and implement “ambitious, broad-based and mutually-beneficial Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (EPCAs) with the interested countries of the region.” 

The conclusions also say that “the scope of the EU’s relations is linked to the readiness of individual Central Asian countries to undertake reforms and strengthen democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, as well as to modernize and diversify the economy, including by supporting the private sector, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, in a free market economy.”

Recognizing the key role of Central Asian countries in supporting an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process and the country's reconstruction, and in line with the EU strategy on Afghanistan, the Council stresses the importance of encouraging further political and economic engagement between the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan to jointly promote an inclusive peace process and sustainable development.