On Thursday February 23, the European Union (EU) and Tajikistan opened negotiations to develop a new comprehensive framework for strengthening their bilateral relations.

According to the European Union Delegation to Tajikistan, negotiations were launched by Chief Negotiators, Mr. Luc Devigne, the Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia and OSCE in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and by Mr. Sharaf Sheralizoda, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan.

The negotiations for an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with Tajikistan represent an important milestone in the EU’s relations with the country, to enlarge the areas of mutual cooperation in the areas of political cooperation, trade, key economic sectors, and also governance, rule of law and human rights.

The future Agreement will replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (in force since 2010). During the launch of negotiations, the parties agreed on the next steps of the negotiation process. The first plenary round of negotiations is expected to discuss specific text proposals and take place in Dushanbe in the spring of 2023.

Recall, The EU Council on December 8 last year adopted guidelines for the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with Tajikistan.

A statement posted on the EU Council’s website said that the EU is determined to deepen its relations with the Central Asian countries, even more so in the current geopolitical environment.  The negotiation of an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Tajikistan will be a significant step forward in this regard. It will provide a platform for improved political cooperation, trade and investment between the EU and Tajikistan, incentivizing and supporting reforms. 

The new agreement will build on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force since 2010 and will reflect the ambitions of the EU and Tajikistan to strengthen their bilateral relationship, in the spirit of the 2019 "EU’s Central Asia Strategy - promoting resilience, prosperity and regional cooperation, for the future development of the region."