The European Union and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership aims to strengthen ties between the European Union and its Central Asian partners. It has led to an increase in the envelope for assistance cooperation to the region. The European Commission's cooperation with Tajikistan 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 overall EU co-operation objectives, policy responses and priority fields for Central Asia, can be found in the EC Regional Strategy Paper for Central Asia 2007-2013 , which foresees an investment of €719 million for regional programmes and country-based projects, and the Central Asia Indicative Programme 2007-2010 .
In addition to the assistance under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) , Tajikistan participates in several ongoing regional and thematic programmes. DCI (which replaced the successful and well-known TACIS in 2007) is among the instruments the EU uses to support Tajikistan economic transition to market economy. More than 165 projects are currently being carried out across a wide-range of sectors, regions and cities in Tajikistan. EU assistance focuses in particular on support for democratic development and good governance, regulatory reform and administrative capacity building, infrastructure development and energy efficiency. EU funding for projects in Tajikistan is provided in the form of grants, contracts and increasingly budget support.
Tajikistan is getting the main share of bilateral assistance (€66 million for 2007-2010) in support to sector programmes, technical assistance and grants. Cooperation focuses on social protection, health and private sector development, underpinned by public finance management. Projects aimed at enhancing living standards continue. Tajikistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management and drug control (BOMCA/CADAP), education (TEMPUS, Erasmus Mundus), water / environment, human rights and democracy (EIDHR), non-State actors (NSA) and SME development (CA-Invest), and disaster preparedness (DIP-ECHO). The EC also provides ad hoc support (such as in the aftermath of the energy crisis in 2008) and with the Global Food facility, from which Tajikistan will benefit for support to social safety nets and the development of agriculture.
The total value of EC assistance disbursed to Tajikistan since 1992, adding up all the instruments, is over €500 million. Past assistance initially focused on humanitarian aid (ECHO), then on technical assistance (TACIS) to the government in key transition areas, and in favour of rural development and poverty reduction with NGO partners, as well as through the border management and drug control programmes (BOMCA/CADAP), and complemented by the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). In more recent times, assistance has increasingly been through budget support and technical assistance combined, through the Exceptional Financial Assistance (EFA) and Food Security Programme (FSP), and now through DCI. Bilateral assistance has become more focused, on these main sectors: Social Protection and Health, Public Finance Management, and Private Sector Development.