Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan

25 Years of European Union - Central Asia Relations: From the Past to the Future

23/02/2018 - 13:45

ASTANA – The capital of Kazakhstan hosted a two-day international conference " 25th Anniversary of the European Union-Central Asia relations: From the Past to the Future". The conference is organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan.

More than 150 delegates have attended the conference, amongst them are diplomats, recognised international and domestic experts: Krzysztof Strahota, Head of Department for the Study of Turkey, Caucasus and Central Asia of the Center for Oriental Studies (Poland); Nicholas de Pedro, expert of the Barcelona Center for International Relations (Spain); Muzaffar Olimov, Head of Shark Research Center (Tajikistan); Emilbek Dzhurayev  (American University Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan); Botir Tursynov, Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies (Uzbekistan); Elaine Konkievich, representative of the UN Women; Helen Dubok, expert for gender studies in Central Asia; Alma Kassymova, Director for Kazakhstan of the EBRD program "Small Business Consultations"; Yerzhan Saltybaev, Director of the Institute of World Economy and Politics; TV presenter Lyaila Sultankyzy, journalist Madi Mambetov and others.

The plenary session was addressed by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kairat Abdrakhmanov and the EU Special Representative for Central Asia Peter Burian. Individual country reports were also presented by the heads of the EU delegations to Central Asia: EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Traian Hristea; EU Ambassador to Uzbekistan Eduards Stiprais; Charge d'Affaires of the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan Jaap Ora, and Head of the Political Section of the EU Delegation to Tajikistan Margus Solson.

«The common goal of achieving stability and prosperity through peaceful interaction has for a quarter of a century been uniting the EU and Central Asia and making them partners in many fields, including political cooperation and economic development. Such a long-term partnership opens up broad prospects for the parties in implementing new projects aimed at political stability and economic prosperity of the Central Asian region», - noted Mr Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia.

Four thematic sessions were held during the conference, whereby participants discussed topical issues on common security challenges for Europe and Central Asia, gender equality and human development in Central Asia, EU-Kazakhstan trade and investment cooperation, and recommendations for the draft of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia.

Within the session "Common security challenges for EU and Central Asian countries: the human dimension of security", experts have discussed terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking, organised crime and migration issues. One of the key ways to prevent modern security threats is the observance of human rights and democratic institutions.

The session "Gender equality and human development in Central Asia", moderated by the UN Women representative, Elaine Konkievich, has considered the key role of gender equality and elimination of discrimination against women and children in accelerating sustainable development. The main results of the Gender Study on Central Asia for 2017, prepared with the financial support of the European Commission, was the starting point of the discussion.

Within the session "EPCA - the new generation of partnership agreements with the EU: trade and business", the participants have focused on the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which is the most important document signed between the EU and Kazakhstan, especially in terms of trade and investment. The EU undertook a comprehensive study (gap analysis) to assist in the smooth implementation and monitoring of the implementation of the EPCA chapters on trade and business in areas such as trade in goods, public procurement, intellectual property rights, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as customs.

The purpose of the session "The new EU Strategy for Central Asia: consultation with Kazakhstan" was to discuss the prospects for relations between the EU and Central Asian countries in general, and in particular with Kazakhstan. Particular attention was paid to the reform process in Kazakhstan and its vision of regional integration and cooperation in Central Asia. The session consisted of two consecutive panel discussions. The results of the discussions will contribute to the drafting of a new EU strategy for the region by 2019.


For further details please contact:

Ms Elnara Bainazarova, Press and Information Officer of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan: + 7 (7172) 974567, e-mail:



Background information

The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) between the EU and Kazakhstan was signed on 21December 2015 in Astana. Since 1 May 2016, the provisional implementation of the main articles of the Agreement has been launched. The Agreement provides significant boost to economic and political ties between the EU and Kazakhstan and also enhances concrete cooperation in 29 key policy areas, including in the sectors of economic and financial cooperation, energy, transport, environment and climate change, employment and social affairs, culture, education and research. During 1991-2014, to support Kazakhstan directly, the EU funded more than 350 projects for the total amount of EUR 180 million, which have been allocated to policy advice and technical assistance to various ministries, agencies and committees of the Government of Kazakhstan.

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