Relations between the European Union and the Republic of Uzbekistan have been developing steadily since its independence in 1991. The signature of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 1996 paved the way for a broader bilateral relationship. Political dialogue; trade in goods; business and investment; intellectual, industrial and commercial property protection; legislative cooperation; economic cooperation; cooperation on matters related to democracy and human rights; cooperation on prevention of illegal activities and the prevention and control of illegal immigration; cultural cooperation and financial cooperation in the field of technical assistance are all covered in the PCA. Since 2007, the EU and Uzbekistan have held annual Human Rights Dialogues in Brussels and Tashkent alternatively. A regional dimension to the EU's relations with Uzbekistan exists through the EU and Central Asia Strategy for a New Partnership, which outlines the overall cooperation objectives, policy responses and priority fields for the EU's engagement in Central Asia.
Since January 2011, when the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov visited Brussels, bilateral relations between the EU and Uzbekistan have developed significantly. During the visit a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy was signed and an agreement was reached, establishing an EU diplomatic representation in Tashkent. Several high level visits, including by the former EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and by the EU Special Representative for Central Asia have since taken place.
The most recent review of the 2007 EU Strategy for Central Asia by the EU Foreign Affairs Council took place on 22 June 2015, welcoming the significant progress achieved in bilateral relations with each country and the region in general and highlighting the significant mutual interest in increased political and economic cooperation. While the main objectives and priority areas of Strategy remain pertinent, the 2015 review called for a stronger role for the EU in promoting a reliable and attractive investment climate in Central Asia as a way of stimulating the development of stronger trade and energy links between the EU and the five countries. Simultaneously, the conclusions reiterate the EU's determination to further develop security dialogues with Central Asian countries and to further enhance its efforts to address the serious challenges of governance and human rights in the region.