EU-Kyrgyzstan relations date back to 1991, when the European Commission launched the Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS). Since 2007, the EU delivers development support to Kyrgyzstan through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Under the DCI, the EU channels aid and grants worth €184 million to Kyrgyzstan in the period 2014-2020.
In line with the Krygyz Republic's national strategies, including the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) 2013-2017 and the Government's Programme and Plan on Transition of the Kyrgyz Republic to Sustainable Development for 2013-2017, the EU's development support towards Kyrgyzstan concentrates on the rule of law, education, and integrated rural development.
In the area of the rule of law, a €13.5 million support programme is fighting corruption and protecting citizens' rights by building the capacity of oversight bodies, supporting reform of the judiciary and strengthening civil society organisations and the media. EU member states’ public bodies are implementing the programme. In view of the upcoming presidential elections in autumn 2017, a specific €13 million programme strengthens the efficiency and integrity of the Kyrgyz electoral system, while a new programme will provide continued support to improving the legislative process and promoting judicial reform.
Most EU assistance in the education sector – a €70 million support programme – is delivered via budget support, helping the government of Kyrgyzstan to implement its Education Sector Strategy. The first budget support programme in the Kyrgyzstan Education sector ran from 2012 to 2015. It was extremely successful, helping the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Education to achieve almost all of the selected targets. The sector strategy has now been revised, with new targets defined, and a new programme of education sector support was started in 2016. One of the objectives is supporting the government in managing public finances dedicated to the sector. Also, the EU supports the government in the implementation of education reforms. Moreover, the EU pursues a particular focus on the achievements of girl pupils and on improving provision for children with special needs.
In the field of integrated rural development, the EU supports the improvement of social protection systems in rural areas. Launched in 2014, a €30 million sector policy support programme in social protection and public finance management, is setting up more effective social protection and social insurance systems and compensating for cuts in social benefits and pensions and delays in payments. The programme also focuses on improving childcare, targeting benefits, and establishing effective decentralised social services for vulnerable families and children. Progress has been made towards establishing the legislative and institutional framework for reforms, and building the institutional and personnel capacity to carry them out. In addition, in 2016 a new programme was designed and adopted to promote income-generating activities and the provision of essential services in rural areas.
The country also benefits from EU Regional programmes in Central Asia and from the EU’s thematic programmes: the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Civil Society Organisations / Local Authorities Thematic Programme, and the Thematic Programme for Global Public Goods and Challenges.
The EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan, in Bishkek, manages the EU's bilateral development projects as well as some regional projects to the country. For more information, see the relevant section on the Delegation's website.