The movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border (international migration), or within a State (internal migration).
EU enlargement to the East and the inclusion of the Southern Caucasus within the European Neighbourhood Policy pushed the EU to strengthen its relations with the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). The adoption of the Strategy for a New Partnership in 2009 reinforced bilateral relations in all areas, including political dialogue on human rights as well as cooperation on the rule of law and on common challenges like border management and drug trafficking.
The overarching goal of EU policy in Central Asia is to encourage political stability and economic prosperity through regional cooperation. Through technical assistance, the EU is helping to strengthen the rule of law and the functioning of the judiciary. Cooperation also focuses on prevention of illegal activities, such as corruption, money laundering, illicit drugs and irregular migration.
Bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) provide a framework for EU relations with Central Asian countries. The PCAs cover the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, illegal activities, money laundering, irregular migration and readmission, asylum, border control, customs and legislative cooperation. Signatories also committed to cooperation on matters relating to democracy and human rights. The threat of terrorism led to reinforced cooperation with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in 2002.
Annual formal dialogues on home affairs – based on the PCAs – are organised with each country within the framework of the Cooperation Councils and Cooperation Committees.
The fight against drug trafficking and organised crime remains a top priority for the EU. Central Asia is a key area of interest in this respect, as Afghan opium is trafficked into Europe through this region.
Regional cooperation is supported through the Border Management Initiative for Central Asia (BOMCA). The initiative helps counter money laundering as well as addresses migration and links with EU and international bodies as part of anti-terrorist and organised crime actions. At the same time, BOMCA strengthens capacity, promotes institutional reform among border guards and supports improved cross border relations and legitimate flows of goods and people in the region.