A meeting of the foreign ministers at the format “Central Asia – European Union was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 21 December. The 2015 EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting was attended by the Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini. Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were represented by the Deputy Foreign Ministers.
It is worth to mention that the EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting has not been held for last two years. Last meeting was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 2013.
Participants discussed a wide range of issues of shared interest, including the development of overall relations between the EU and Central Asia, regional and international issues of mutual interest, combating common threats and challenges. The discussion on security issues will continue bilaterally and within the framework of the High Level Security Dialogue.
Participants discussed the recent review of the EU Central Asia Strategy. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the European Union’s commitment to engagement with the Central Asian countries and the significant increase to over 1 billion euros of financial support to programmes to be implemented in Central Asia in the period 2014-2020. The Participants agreed on the importance of a comprehensive EU approach to the region, which encompasses not only multilateral financial assistance, but also support by individual EU Member States and the active engagement of European financial institutions.
The Foreign Ministers welcomed the EU’s commitment to a relationship with Central Asia based on the principles of responsibility and cooperation, aimed at fostering the stable, secure and sustainable development of this region. They welcomed the involvement of the EU Member States in the regional platforms, and in programmes for border management and drugs, including BOMCA and CADAP. Participants agreed that EU-Central Asia cooperation needs to be more result-oriented, combining the multilateral dimension with a bilateral approach that reflects the specifics of each of the 5 Central Asian countries.
They also agreed that, particularly in today’s complex international environment, it is important to strengthen the resilience of societies through good governance, including the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, as well as by building a democratic society.
Participants welcomed the strong trade and investment ties between the European Union and Central Asian countries and agreed on the need to further strengthen mutually beneficial economic cooperation. They underlined the importance of transparent rules and regulations for a favorable investment climate in the Central Asia region, which will promote the region’s further sustainable economic development.
Participants expressed their gratitude to the Republic of Kazakhstan for the warm welcome and for hosting the Ministerial Meeting in Astana and agreed to meet in 2016 in Brussels.