The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica met today in Brussels with the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrissov, Kyrgyzstan,Erlan Abdyldaev, Tajikistan, Sirodjidin Aslov, Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov, and Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, for the 12th European Union-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting.
"Central Asia is at the intersection of Europe and Asia and is of real importance to our European Union. There is so much untapped potential for increased connections, whether through investment or trade, infrastructure or people to people contacts between our citizens", said the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini. "Our cooperation with our partners in Central Asia covers a lot of areas, with an eye also on the security challenges. We share a common neighbourhood, we share deep links and that's why we are engaged more than ever in expanding and enhancing our relations", she added. "We will step up our efforts to work together to focus more on economic stability and growth”, said Commissioner Mimca. “During today’s meeting, we saw a great commitment from our Central Asian counterparts to working with us to deliver results which will benefit all sides.”
The meeting covered the overall development of relations between the European Union and Central Asia, as well as discussions on international issues of mutual interest, with a focus on common threats and challenges, stability, migration, economic growth, including job creation and enhanced employment opportunities, support to private sector development, youth and education. The importance of using the full potential of trade and investment relations was underlined. The High Representative/ Vice-President and the Commissioner also stressed that for economic growth and private sector a good investment climate including good governance are essential for both European and local investors.
The European Union maintains a strong commitment to a relationship with Central Asia that aims at fostering the stable, secure and sustainable development of this region. This commitment is reinforced by €1 billion in financial support for the period 2014-2020. All participants agreed that the upcoming revision of the Central Asia strategy in 2017 will allow cooperation between the European Union and Central Asia to become more result-oriented, combining the bilateral approach that reflects the specificities of each of the five Central Asian countries with a regional dimension that puts emphasis on economic growth and stability.
The participants also agreed that, in today's complex international environment, it is important to strengthen the resilience of societies through good governance, including the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, as well as by building democratic societies.
The next EU–Central Asia Ministerial Meeting will be held in 2017 in Uzbekistan.