The European Commission has reiterated its commitment to supporting EU partnership with Central Asia in a series of new programmes in the region.
The regional programmes, to be funded by the EU for a total of €72m, will be implemented across Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan under the revised EU Central Asia Strategy, which lays out the Commission’s goals for the future of EU partnership with Central Asia. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “The EU’s contribution worth €72m boosts our strong partnership with Central Asia, for the benefit of our citizens. Together with national governments, civil society and the private sector we will work to create opportunities and shared prosperity, while protecting our planet for future generations.”
The new programmes include:
- €2m to support women’s economic empowerment across Central Asia, with particular focus on providing training and support to women in Afghanistan; to be implemented in partnership with authorities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan;
- €14m towards the EU’s SWITCH Asia programme, which aims to promote economic prosperity through sustainable consumption;
- €20m towards the construction of a new hydropower plant in Tajikistan, to be built with additional support from Germany; and
- A €36m education development programme in Kyrgyzstan, focusing on promoting gender and racial equality and equipping children with the skills they will need to find employment.
Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: “The positive regional dynamics in Central Asia and a demand for closer cooperation with the European Union presents a significant opportunity for a closer, stronger partnership. Our new strategy for the region will enable us to cooperate more closely with the countries of Central Asia in tackling the challenges they face, from sustainable development to economic diversification, strengthening civil society and human rights to providing expertise and financial support for reform processes. We are ready to build on the enormous momentum gained over the last five years, as a consistent and reliable partner, to foster resilience, prosperity and regional cooperation.”