Outside the EU, the Bank supports projects contributing to economic development in countries which have previously signed association or cooperation agreements with the European Commission. In order for the EIB to begin operations in the region, it must first conclude bilateral framework agreements with the countries concerned. To date, two framework agreements have been signed, with Tajikistan in February 2009 and with Kazakhstan in April 2010.
The EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia was adopted by the European Council in June 2007 in recognition of the increasing importance of Central Asia for EU interests relating to security, stability, governance and energy diversification. The strategy provides an overall framework for EU relations with Central Asia.
The strategy strengthens relations in all areas of cooperation, including through the reinforcement of EU-Central Asia political dialogue with regular meetings of EU and Central Asian Foreign Ministers, reinforcement of dialogue on human rights, cooperation in the areas of education, rule of law, energy and transport, environment and water common threats and challenges (including border management and combating drug trafficking), and trade and economic relations. The strategy is supported by a significant increase in EU assistance.
The EU and Central Asian countries have since confirmed their commitment to the strategy and its implementation is well under way.
When the Strategy was adopted in June 2007, the European Council asked the Council and the Commission to regularly review progress in implementing the Strategy. A first progress report was submitted to the European Council in June 2008. The Progress Report from June 2010 intended to assess the implementation of the Strategy more broadly and to give first indications as to future orientations of priority areas for action, taking into account developments in and around the region that have had an impact on the context in which the Strategy is being implemented.