The Council of Europe has developed co-operation with the countries of Central Asia since the late 1990s, in particular with Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. This co-operation has been enhanced through the implementation of the Policy for Neighbourhood Regions established by the Council of Europe in 2011. The Council of Europe Policy for Neighbourhood Regions, which is demand-driven and country-specific, aims at promoting dialogue and co-operation with countries and regions in the vicinity of Europe which had expressed a will to co-operate with the Council of Europe based on the common values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The partnership with the European Union is highly valued in this region. Regional activities are complemented by bilateral actions.

Regional activities

The European Union/Council of Europe joint programme “Central Asia Rule of Law Programme” (2020-2023) was signed and was officially launched on 28 November 2019 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The Programme will cover all five countries of the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and will be in line with the Council of Europe Policy for Neighbourhood Regions.

Another European Union/Council of Europe joint programme “Support to reforms of electoral legislation and practice and regional Human Rights instruments and mechanisms in countries of Latin America, Central Asia and Mongolia” is also being implemented. In the framework of this programme, Central Asian countries benefit from support on electoral matters.

Bilateral activities

Currently there are no bilateral programmes being implemented. A new European Union/Council of Europe joint programme for the whole Central Asia region will include country-specific actions in the general framework of the regional approach.