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 towards neighbouring regions established by the Council of Europe in 2011. The policy is demand-driven, country-specific and aims at promoting dialogue and co-operation with countries and regions in the vicinity of Europe, which have expressed interest in co-operating with the Council of Europe based on the common values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. 

Regional activities

The European Union/Council of Europe joint programme “Central Asia Rule of Law Programme” (2020-2024)was signed and officially launched on 28 November 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Programme covers all five countries of the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and is in line with the Council of Europe Policy towards neighbouring 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” (2019-2023) was implemented and provided support to improve electoral system and practice, conduct legislative and constitutional reforms and promote the rule of law and human rights mechanisms. The next phase of the programme starts in 2024 and will last until 2026.

The partnership with the European Union is highly valued in this region and is complementary to the action of the Council of Europe.

Bilateral activities

Currently there are no bilateral programmes being implemented. The European Union/Council of Europe “Central Asia Rule of Law Programme” (2020-2024) includes country-specific actions in the general framework of the regional approach.

*The Programme has been extended to 30 June 2024.