Since Uzbekistan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the EU and Uzbekistan have steadily strengthened their relations. Since 1996, the relationship is based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which extended cooperation from development to political affairs, trade and economics. The EU opened its diplomatic representation in Tashkent in 2011. Since 2016 EU-Uzbekistan relations have moved into a higher gear with the launch in 2018 of negotiations on a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA).
Under the 1996 PCA, the EU and Uzbekistan hold regular political meetings and cooperate on trade, investment, intellectual property, legislation, human rights, culture, development and the fight against illegal immigration. There are a number of other agreements complementing relations between the EU and Uzbekistan, notably the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of energy.
The PCA provides for several institutions, made up of European and Uzbek officials, to ensure implementation and monitoring:
- The Cooperation Council of ministerial level meets once a year in Brussels and supervises implementation.
- The Cooperation Committee of senior officials meets once a year either in Brussels or Tashkent and assists the Council.
- Two Cooperation Subcommittees of experts provide technical assistance, meeting once a year in Brussels or Tashkent. These are the subcommittees for Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights and related issues (JHA Subcommittee) and Trade, Investment, Energy and Transport (TIET Subcommittee).
- There is also an annual Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and Uzbekistan which meets back-to-back with the JHA Subcommittee.
- The Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of members of the Uzbek Parliament and the European Parliament maintain political relations by meeting once a year in Brussels.
EU-Uzbek relations exist in the wider context of the European partnership with Central Asian countries . This includes regular political and human rights dialogues, as well as cooperation on numerous issues such as education, the rule of law and sustainable development.