Europe approves new strategy for relations with Central Asia

Europe approves new strategy for relations with Central Asia

The Council of Europe has approved a new strategy for developing relations with Central Asia. The text says that the Council adopted conclusions regarding the new EU strategy towards Central Asia, which is adapting the EU policy to new opportunities that have emerged in the region. The Council also emphasises the joint interest of the EU and of Central Asian states to intensify cooperation to promote peace in Afghanistan.

The Council of Europe welcomes the strengthening of relations between the EU and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan since the adoption of the first EU strategy for Central Asia in 2007. According to Brussels, the new strategy focuses on promoting resilience, prosperity, and regional cooperation in Central Asia.

The Council of Europe stressed its commitment to conclude and implement “ambitious and mutually beneficial agreements on enhanced partnership and cooperation (EPCA) with interested countries in the region.”

“Recognizing the strategic role of Central Asia in global efforts to promote Euro-Asian connectivity and stressing that these efforts should bring benefits to the region, the Council states that it looks forward to increased cooperation with Central Asian countries,” the text says.

The development of relations with the European Union is one of the priorities of the foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan, and Ashgabat, in cooperation with Brussels, is implementing a number of projects in various fields.

The supply of Turkmen gas to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor and the associated construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline remain the most important and ambitious project.

The parties have different approaches to the implementation of this project, but similar assessments. Both Ashgabat and Brussels believe that this project is very important for the diversification of Turkmen gas exports and European gas supply.

During the current European Commission activity, there were negotiations only. At the same time, as European media informed earlier, Manfred Weber, one of lead candidates to be the next president of the European Commission, is a consistent supporter of gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Europe. Three years ago, he called on the European Commission to join efforts to increase the volume of gas supplies from the Caspian Sea through Turkey.