EU's new Central Asia strategy focuses on stronger partnerships

Caravanserai

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission (EC) Wednesday (May 15) adopted a new strategy aimed at creating "a stronger, modern, and nonexclusive partnership" with Central Asian states, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The 16-page document covers the EC's goals in the coming years with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The EC is a European Union (EU) institution that upholds the EU's treaties.

EU co-operation with Central Asia has taken many forms, including the security-minded Border Management Programme in Central Asia.

The new document updates a similar strategy paper from 2007.

The EU "will seek to deepen its engagement with those Central Asian countries willing and able to intensify relations," according to the document.

It will also "work to address structural constraints on intraregional trade and investment, support remaining Central Asian states' accession to the World Trade Organisation and promote sustainable connectivity".

The Enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement that Brussels inked with Kazakhstan in 2015 will remain "a cornerstone" of engagement in the region, said the document.

The EU is negotiating similar agreements with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

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