EU-Kazakhstan relations date back to 1991, when the European Commission launched the Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). Since 2007, the EU has been delivering development support to Kazakhstan through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). During the period 1991 to 2014, more than 350 projects amounting to €180 million supported Kazakhstan bilaterally in areas like justice, environment, health, education and public administration.
Kazakhstan, due to its graduation as an Upper Middle Income Country, is no longer eligible to receive bilateral DCI support. However, the country still benefits from ongoing projects launched before its graduation in 2014. In line with Astana's latest national reforms, the EU's ongoing bilateral projects cover justice (€12 million), and the country's transition to a green economy model (€8.8 million). Through the latter, the EU aims to addresses Kazakhstan’s water resources management and environmental governance systems, with some actions taking place at local levels. For its part, the EU justice programme focuses on strengthening the rule of law and the reform of the judiciary and is articulated along 4 components:
- Judicial reform
- Quality and the efficiency of the Kazakh justice system
- Juvenile justice
- Justice and civil society
Kazakhstan remains eligible for support under regional programme of the Central Asia DCI covering 2014-2020. In particular, Kazakhstan participates in projects such as the Erasmus + programme, the Border Management Central Asia Programme (BOMCA) and Central Asia Drugs Action Programme (CADAP), projects managed by the EU Delegation in Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan also takes part in and benefits from the EU Central Asia policy dialogue Platforms in the areas of Education (EU-Central Asia Education Platform), Rule of Law (EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform), and Environment, Climate Change and Water (EU-Central Asia Environment and Water Cooperation Platform).
Besides Kazakhstan also benefits from projects under the following instruments:
- European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
- Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)
- Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation.
In the context of this last instrument, Astana has been hosting the Headquarters of the International Science and Technology Centre (ISCT), with the support of the EU since 2015. The ISTC will have a major role in the organization of scientific events during the World’s Fair EXPO-2017 in Astana.
The EU Delegation to Kazakhstan in Astana manages the EU's Kazakhstan-targeted projects, as well as Platform on the EU-Central Asia Environment and Water Cooperation. For more information, see the relevant section on the Delegation's website.