Bilateral relations of Tajikistan with the European Union

18.01.2024 10:09

Bilateral relations of Tajikistan with the European Union

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union began in 1992 and intensified with the opening of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Tajikistan to the European Union in 2001 and the Delegation of the European Commission (the Delegation of the European Union since 2009) in 2004.

Relations of the Republic of Tajikistan with the European Union are based on two strategic documents: 1. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union, which was signed in 2004 and entered into force in January 2010, regulates relations between Tajikistan and the European Union at the bilateral level. 2. The new European Union Strategy in Central Asia, adopted in 2019, regulates relations of the Union with the Central Asian countries. With the aim to raise the level of relations,the Republic of Tajikistan in 2019 proposed to improve the legal bases of Tajikistan-EU engagements by signing Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement(EPCA), the implementation of which is under consideration by the parties.

The European Union in the framework of Multi-year indicative program for the Republic of Tajikistan, which is adopted with a special budget for certain years,contributes to the development ofdifferent sectors in Tajikistan, including education, health, rural development, energy, environmental protection and water resources, border control, combating drug trafficking and crime, ensuring the rule of law, transport and communications, etc.

Cooperation with the European Union is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Republic of Tajikistan, and various formats of engagements at the bilateral and multilateral levels promote the sides’ relations.

The Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the European Union is a new instrument, the first meeting of which took place in Astana in October 2022 with the participation of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the President of the European Council Charles Michel. During the meeting, issues of economic cooperation, food and regional security, agriculture, transport and logistics, energy, cooperation in the field of "green energy" and other issues of mutual interest are discussed.

The Cooperation Council between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union is a main bilateral mechanism that in its sessions key areas of Tajikistan's cooperation with the European Union in political, security, economic, humanitarian, human rights, international and regional issues are discussed.

The meetings of the Cooperation Committee and Subcommittee on Development Cooperation, the Human Rights Dialogue, and the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union are held annually.

In these meetings, the development of cooperation in the socio-economic spheres, energy, environment, water, the rule of law, human rights and the process of Tajikistan's accession to the European Union's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) are discussed.

The European Union Strategy for Central Asia, which was adopted in June 2019, defines the EU's multilateral relations with Tajikistan and neighboring countries.

The Meeting ofForeign Ministers of Central Asia and the European Union, the High-Level Political and Security Dialogue, the Economic Forum and the Civil Society Forum are held annuallyin the framework of regionalmechanisms.

During the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Central Asia and the European Unionthe parties discuss the current state of relations and prospects for strengthening cooperation between Central Asia and Europe in the political, trade, economic, water and energy, security, fight against terrorism and extremism, and the environment, and exchange views on major international and regional issues.

The High-Level Political and Security Dialogue discusses cooperation between the Central Asian countries and the European Union on political and security issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, countering security threats and challenges, border management and drug trafficking programs as well as environmental protection.

The Economic Forum between Central Asia and the European Union discusses cooperation between the two regions with the private sector involvement in economic and investment issues with a focus on the development of Central Asia.

The Civil Society Forumis held in a free format, with participants discussing a variety of sectoral topics. In particular, representatives of the two regions discuss the role and contribution of civil society in the formation of the state, the importance of an integrated approach to building a sustainable society with a focus on vulnerable groups such as youth, women, and the disabled, and the need to expand cooperation in the implementation of joint projects in the field of digitalization, education and health.

Cooperation between Tajikistan and the European Union in the field of education is carried out in the framework of the Tempus, Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus + programs of the European Union, which promote cooperation between Tajikistan and European universities and the implementation of educational and exchange programs.

Cooperation of the Republic of Tajikistan within the framework of the European Union Forum “Global Gateway” initiative. The EU aims to invest an additional €300 billion worldwide by 2027 through the Global Gateway. The European Union has already signed a number of agreements with countries in Asia and Africa. Digital technologies, energy and climate, transport, health, education and research are the five main areas of European investment under this initiative. Tajikistan participates in high-level events, forums, discussions and meetings dedicated to this issue.

Cooperation in border security and combating drug trafficking. As part of specific inter-regional programs to prevent threats, the European Union has launched a number of regional security projects since 2003 within the framework of the Central Asia Border Management Program (BOMCA) and the Central Asia Drug Trafficking Prevention Program (CADAP).

The official visits of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to the European Union (Brussels) and the High Representatives of the European Union to Tajikistan play an important role in the development of bilateral relations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     November, 2023