In his remarks about the 17th EU-Central Asian Ministerial meeting that took place in Dushanbe on November 22, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. Josep Borrell, in particular, noted the same day that the European Union came to the meeting with a strong delegation that is a demonstration of the importance that EU attaches to its exchanges with Central Asian countries.

“…We are here to tell you we might be far, but we have the means and the willingness to reduce the distance in a world that is increasingly interdependent.  You are literally on the way between Europe and Asia. You are becoming a key part of the equation between these two worlds. I am convinced that together we are stronger and effectively will tackle together common challenges,” EU foreign policy chief said, noting that the new initiative that EU is going to approve next week, called the Global Gateway, the European Union will bring together its multiple instruments and resources to pull a comprehensive and coherent strategy in building bridges and running out infrastructure policies.

“We aim at facilitating connections and by doing it in a sustainable way, taking care of the environmental concerns of being compatible with the development needs of the people,” Mr. Borrell said. 

He further noted that Central Asia is very much exposed to climate change,… and the access to  water resources is a clear issue for the future development of the Central Asian countries and for future generations.  According to him, the EU working group on the environment, climate and water to be a key platform to address these issues jointly, and the post-Corona recovery should be an opportunity to accelerate the procedures towards climate neutrality, an opportunity to invest in a more sustainable low carbon and circular economy. 

“…We have a common interest to tackle regional challenges together.  In the globally interconnected and interdependent world we cannot face problems in isolation anymore.  One of the major challenges that this region is facing now and that has been discussed intensively, is the situation in Afghanistan,” Mr. Borrell added.  

He also recalled EU’s commitment to work with Central Asian partners to ensure stability and security in the region. 

“I raised the issue with Ministers of the situation of the borders of the European Union with Belarus and I requested their support in preventing this instrumentalization of human beings and the risk of their lives.  Cheating people, convincing them there is a way to Europe through flying to Minsk and this has to be prevented and I thank you a lot for your views presented in the meeting and the understanding and engaging to deal with this kind of threats,” the EU’s top diplomat said.