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EU Reaffirms Commitment To Developing Central Asia Region

The European Union has allocated nearly EUR 1 billion to support development efforts in Central Asian countries between 2014 and 2020, it was announced ahead of a Ministerial meeting between the EU and Central Asian countries set to begin in Brussels on Wednesday.

The announcement was made by Andris Piebalgs, the EU Commissioner for Development. Piebalgs also presented the priority areas of development cooperation with Central Asia, both at regional and bilateral level.

Piebalgs said the amount includes bilateral allocations for Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as regional allocations and multi-country funds to support the region's efforts on sustainable management of natural resources, socioeconomic development. Kazakhstan remains eligible to benefit from regional and thematic programs, but not for bilateral funds.

"Governance and inclusive and sustainable growth for human development will be the two key pillars for the next seven years of development cooperation with Central Asia, with a particular focus on the poorest and the most fragile countries," Piebalgs said.

Nevertheless, he stressed that that "the EU can facilitate and support national efforts, but it is only the Central Asia countries' direct determination that can build a solid basis for prosperity and security of the region.

"This is precisely the idea behind the EU regional approach in Central Asia, offering each country opportunities for regional dialogue and common actions in areas crucial for the region's future," he added.

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