First time ever, for its 19th round, the ministerial meeting was held in full format: on October 23, it was attended by foreign ministers of 27 European and 5 Central Asian countries.
The participants adopted a joint roadmap to deepen ties between Central Asia and the European Union. This document complements the existing EU strategy of 2019 and significantly expands the areas of interregional cooperation. It identifies key directions for practical interaction, including the convergence of Central Asian countries’ transport infrastructure with the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), financing of green projects in the region, cooperation in various fields. Among many other issues discussed were human rights and the rule of law, issues related to water resource management, security in the region, and sustainable development in Central Asia.
In their joint communique adopted at the end of the meeting, the EU and Central Asian countries confirmed their commitment to continuing their strategic partnership based on shared values and mutual interests. Foreign ministers of Central Asian countries “welcomed the EU’s unwavering commitment to the stability and prosperity of the Central Asian region, including its comprehensive approach under the Global Gateway strategy, multilateral financial assistance, Team Europe initiatives, and individual participation of EU member states and European financial institutions.”
The communique also noted that an investment forum “EU-CA” will be held in Brussels at the end of January 2024, and the first official summit “European Union – Central Asia” will be held in Uzbekistan in the second quarter of the same year.
The next, 20th ministerial meeting “Central Asia – European Union” will also take place in 2024, in Turkmenistan.