Technical and financial co-operation

The European Commission's cooperation with Kazakhstan and other countries in Central Asia is based on a multi-annual regional cooperation strategy which takes the situation and needs of each country into account.

The Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia (2007-2013)  foresees an investment of €719 million for regional programmes and country-based projects. The strategy is supported by a multi-annual Central Asia DCI Indicative Programme 2011-2013 , which has allocated €321 million for regional and national programmes over three years (20011-2013). The regional programmes aim to promote regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in Central Asia. A sum of €105 million is earmarked for this. Kazakhstan is also supported by EU programmes at a national level worth €30 million.

The Programme identifies three priority areas for assistance to Central Asia:

  • Promotion of regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations;
    • Rule of law
    • Border management, customs
    • Fight against organized crime
  • Poverty reduction and increasing living standards;
    • Regional and local community development;
    • Reform in rural development and in social sectors.
  • Good governance and economic reform;
    • Democratic development and good governance (promoting civil society, social dialogue and democratic processes, judicial reform and the rule of law, improving public administration and public finance management);
  • Since 1991, more than 300 projects amounting to €140 million were funded by the EU to support Kazakhstan directly; for the period of 2011-2013 an annual average of approximately €13 million is foreseen. The biggest share of these funds has been allocated for policy advice and technical assistance to various Ministries and Agencies of the Government of Kazakhstan (e.g. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry for Environmental Protection, Ministry of Education, Agency for Public Administration and others) based on European experience and best international practices.


In 2007, the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) became the legal basis for EU-Central Asia cooperation, replacing the successful and well-known TACIS programme (1991-2006)   in Central Asia, which offered support to former Soviet Union states in their transition to democracy, to a market economy and to states governed by the rule of law.

Kazakhstan participated in many cooperation activities under TACIS and continues to do so with the DCI. The overarching objective of the DCI is to help eradicate poverty in partner countries and regions. It is guided by the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and serves to promote democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

DCI includes several thematic programmes, the following of which are used in Kazakhstan:

  • Investing in people, of which the focus is on six different areas of action: health, knowledge and skills, culture, employment and social cohesion, gender equality, youth and children.
  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy is intended to supplement measures in the field of the environment and natural resources (including energy) under national and regional programmes. It includes the opportunity to give priority to measures regarded as global priorities, to cover all the partner countries (except the pre-accession and potentially candidate countries) and to retain some flexibility as regards programming and partnerships.
  • Non-state actors and local authorities, which is aimed at supporting the right of initiative of non-state actors and local authorities by funding their initiatives. The three main areas of intervention are: actions in developing countries and regions, awareness raising and education in Europe on the subject of development, and measures facilitating the coordination between civil society networks and local authorities.
  • Migration and Asylum, aimed to assist third countries to improve the management of all aspects of their migratory flows.

Alongside the DCI, there are some more cooperation instruments, applied in the region and in Kazakhstan:

  • The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a European Union programme that aims to promote and support human rights and democracy worldwide. Development and democratization processes must be locally owned if they are to play an influential role in society. EIDHR aims to strengthen the role of civil society in the promotion of human rights, political pluralism and democratic participation and representation. Civil society should also be strong enough to contribute to the peaceful conciliation of group interests and be able to promote equality between men and women in social, economic and political life.
  • The Nuclear Safety Instrument finances measures to support a higher level of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards for nuclear material in third countries.
  • The Instrument for Stability (IfS) aims to contribute to stability in countries in crisis by providing an effective response to help preserve, establish or re-establish the essential conditions for the proper implementation of the EU’s development and co-operation policies (the ‘Crisis response and preparedness’ component). In the context of stable conditions for the implementation of EU co-operation policies in third countries, the IfS helps to build capacity both to address specific global and trans-regional threats having a destabilising effect and to ensure preparedness to address pre- and post-crisis situations (the ‘global and regional trans-border challenges’ component).


Regional cooperation

From the regional perspective, Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia (2007-2013) identifies six sectors for EC cooperation:


The INOGATE programme (since 1995) is an international energy cooperation programme between the European Union, the littoral states of the Black & Caspian Sea and their neighboring countries. It is aimed at:

  • Converging energy markets on the basis of the principles of the EU internal energy market whilst taking the particularities of the countries involved into account.
  • Enhancing energy security by addressing the issues of energy exports/imports, supply diversification, energy transit and energy demand
  • Supporting sustainable energy development, including the development of energy efficiency, renewable energy and demand side management
  • Attracting investment towards energy projects of common and regional interest.

The RES/EE program (2011-2014) aims to promote Renewable Energy, Energy saving and Energy Efficiency in the countries of Central Asia.


The Transport Corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia programme (TRACECA) is an interstate programme aimed at supporting the political and economic development of THE Black Sea Region, THE Caucasus and Central Asia through the improvement of international transport. It is aimed at:

  • stimulating co-operation among participating states in all matters related to the development and improvement of trade in the region;
  • promoting optimal integration of the international transport corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia "TRACECA" into Trans-European Networks (TENs);
  • identifying problems and deficiencies in the region’s trade and transport systems;
  • promoting TRACECA projects as a means to attract funding from IFIs, development partners and private investors.
  • defining, in terms of contents and timing, a Technical Assistance Programme to be financed by the European Commission (EU).

3. SME's

Central Asia Invest is a regional programme which aims to promote the sustainable economic development of the Central Asian Countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) by encouraging the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The programme also supports relations between European and Central Asian Business Intermediary Organisations, in order to integrate the Central Asian markets into the world economy. The programme supports capacity building projects for Business Intermediary Organisations in Central Asia. The activities aim to upgrade the skills of staff members and to reinforce networking, making them better equipped to service local businesses and to facilitate trade between Europe and Central Asia.


The Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) is to secure the gradual adoption of modern border management methods in Central Asia. Modern Border Management aims at two equally important purposes, which are Enhanced border security and Facilitation of legal trade and transit.
The Central Asia Drug Action Programme (CADAP) is designed to foster a regional development-oriented drug control strategy that ensures a sustained reduction of drug consumption and trafficking in line with European Union drug best practices.


The Central Asia Trans-European Mobility Scheme for University Studies (TEMPUS) Programme aims to facilitate university modernisation, mutual learning and cultural understanding between the European Union and its partners in the higher education sector. TEMPUS programme funds institution-based university cooperation projects and a special emphasis is given to the mobility of academic and administrative staff from higher education institutions, both from the EU and partner countries.
Erasmus Mundus Partnerships (Action 2) is to achieve better understanding and mutual enrichment between the EU and third countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills at the higher education level. It specifically aims:

  • To develop higher education teaching and learning capacities especially regarding the country's development priorities;
  • To enhance the role for the higher education sector in sustainable development in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • To create a pool of well-qualified and internationally experienced professionals, capable of responding to the challenges of sustainable and equitable development within their home countries.

The Central Asian Research and Education Network (CAREN), launched in January 2009, is a high-capacity regional research and education network which will provide high-speed internet for universities and research centers. CAREN will help decrease the digital divide and will directly contribute to the development of the education and research sector in the region by enabling access to modern ICT technologies and support distant collaboration through online applications such as telemedicine, distance learning, applications on energy and water resources management, seismology and environmental studies.


There are two Regional Environmental Programmes:

The First Regional Environmental Programme for Central Asia is called  Promoting Integrated Water Resources Management and Fostering Transboundary Dialogue in Central Asia, which runs for the 2008-2012 period, is focused on water.
The Second Central Asia Regional Environmental Programme is called EURECA and runs between 2010 and 2013.