EU-Uzbekistan 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 increasing development support to Uzbekistan through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Starting with a €29 million multiannual programme (2007-2010), and followed by a €42 million programme (2011-2013), the most recent indicative programme (2014-2020) amounts to €168 million.
The EU cooperation programme supports, through its development programmes, Tashkent's relevant policy reforms and national strategies. Notably, the Government of Uzbekistan has embarked on a structural reform from cotton and primary processing, to a diversified industrial and agro-industrial economy, while also strengthening democratic and economic governance. As such, the EU's latest DCI programme (2014-2020) has earmarked €168 million in support to rural development in the following 4 subsectors:
- sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems,
- employment and income generation,
- enhancement of socio-economic living standards of the most vulnerable groups in rural areas.
The rural sector deserves a close attention as it is at the crossroads of diverse key domestic, regional and global challenges, including economic autonomy at country and individual levels, development of confidence-building measures, and fighting human rights violations.
In addition to benefiting from bilateral development projects, Uzbekistan benefits from support under the EU-Central Asia regional programme. Uzbekistan currently participates in 2 EU- Central Asia regional programmes which address cross borders challenges: the EU Border Management Central Asia Programme (BOMCA) and Central Asia Drugs Action Programme (CADAP). The three regional policy platforms that Uzbekistan benefits from are the EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform, the EU-Central Asia Environment and Water Cooperation Platform, and the EU- Central Asia Education Platform. Moreover, the country benefits from specific expertise in the area of higher education, and is also eligible to the ERASMUS + programme through the regional programme.
The Commission also supports Central Asian countries in security related areas through the long term Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and in environmental remediation though the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. In this context, Uzbekistan hosts the Central Asia Regional Secretariat for the Chemical, Biological Radiological and Nuclear Center of Excellence which opened in Tashkent in July 2015. Uzbekistan also benefits from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) in various domains like child protection (securing child protection implementation in Samarkand region) or human rights (promoting access to human rights for vulnerable groups).
The EU Delegation to Uzbekistan, in Tashkent, manages the EU's bilateral development projects to the country. For more information, see the relevant section on the Delegation's website.