On January 16, the Vice President of the European Commission, Mr. Margaritis Schinas, paid official visit to Tajikistan as part of a broader outreach to Central Asia.  The visit reportedly provided an important opportunity to discuss the priorities of cooperation between Tajikistan and the European Union (EU).

The EU Delegation to Tajikistan notes that Vice President Schinas met with Prime Minister of Tajikistan Qohir Rasoulzoda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirojiddin Muhriddin, and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Sherali Kabir.

Connectivity issues in the context of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy were at the center of the discussions.  In particular, the sides zoomed in on transport, digital connectivity and the water-energy nexus. Important topics such as investment potential, climate change and security threats, including the fight against terrorism were also discussed.

Mr. Margaritis Schinas

The European Union and Tajikistan reportedly discussed the upcoming EU-Central Asia Investors Forum to be held in Brussels on 29-30 January 2024.  They also touched upon support to border management with Afghanistan, and priorities of cooperation, including in the areas of sustainable development and good governance, democracy and human rights.

The parties highlighted that EU-Tajikistan relations are on a positive trajectory, as demonstrated by the ongoing negotiations of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which will bring the relations to a new level. Tajikistan is a key partner for the European Union in Central Asia and the EU is determined to continue its strong cooperation in priority areas, such as green and digital economy, human development, and natural resources management.

The Tajik MFA information department says Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and the European Commission Vice President Schinas discussed the current agenda of bilateral relations and exchanged views on ways to develop and expand cooperation between Tajikistan and the European Union in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres. 

Meeting at Tajik MFA

The parties reportedly also discussed issues of regional security, the situation in Afghanistan, the threat of terrorism and extremism and other important issues.

The European Union’s engagement with Tajikistan has developed significantly since the country’s independence in 1991.  The current basis for our relations is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), in force since 2010.  At the beginning of 2023, the EU and Tajikistan have started negotiations on an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA).  At the regional level, the Tajik Republic is a partner through the European Union’s Strategy on Central Asia, which was adopted in June 2019.  The Strategy defines the overall cooperation objectives and priorities for the EU’s engagement in the region, focusing on promoting resilience, prosperity, and regional cooperation in Central Asia. In addition, the Strategy aims at promoting of EU principles and values: good governance, human rights, rules-based regional cooperation.  The EU supports the work of Tajik civil society, in partnership with local and international Non-Governmental Organizations.

EU cooperation for the period of 2021-2027 will build on earlier achievements in key sectors such as health, education, public finance management, water, energy and agriculture, while stepping up support on SME empowerment, greening the economy and disaster risk reduction.

EU bilateral development assistance allocation for 2021-2024 is EUR 91 million. The following three priority areas have been identified for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Indicative Program: inclusive green and digital economy; human development; and natural resources management, efficiency and resilience.