European Vector of Tajikistan Foreign Policy

Considering promotion of its authority, role and influence the European Union intensifies the establishment of mutually beneficial relations with all subjects of international law. The Community leads active foreign policy within all world regions. The European Union devotes special attention to Central Asian region that is supported by the New Partnership Strategy between the EU and Central Asia adopted in June 2007.Naturally the primary interest of the EU in this region is the intention to gain energy independence from traditional partners, to diversify the ways of blue fuel and other strategic materials supplies to the Union. At the same time the EU fully acknowledges that it’s impossible to reach the main objective without establishment of respective political, economic, social, ideological, and therefore humanitarian conditions. Today and in the near term mutually beneficial cooperation with Central Asian states is observed only within the context of social and political stability in the region. Accordingly, the general objective of the Strategy is to create conditions for extension of bilateral relations, assurance of economic growth of the countries of our region, its stability and security.

In this context overwhelming relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union demonstrate persistent development

The development of bilateral relations gained power due to the meetings of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomalii Rahmon with the EU Commission President, the EP Chairman and other top-ranking officials of the European Community during his official visit to Belgium in 2003. Repeated meetings of Tajikistani Leader with the EC General Secretary, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, the EC Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Walnder, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia and Caucasus Pierre Morel and other top-ranking officials of the Community assured steady promotion of the relations within vitally important directions. During these meetings the participants discussed the current state and prospects of mutually beneficial political, trade and economic, energy, social, legislative, humanitarian, educational relations, and cooperation within regional security sphere. They also underlined the necessity of investing into the economic sector of the Republic of Tajikistan, especially into the processing of mountain minerals, aluminum, agricultural products, the establishment of modern infrastructure for international tourism.
The European Community considers as positive active participation of Tajikistan in the process of peace and stability achievement in Afghanistan. The erection of five bridges over the boundary river Panj, the establishment of  border trade, joint struggle against drugs and terrorism, electric energy export, that will only extend within the accomplishment of our hydro-energy projects, are also conceived by the EU as a positive factor of the active role of our country in the process of Afghan economy revival.

  A historic breakthrough within the development of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and the European Union is the signing of Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Tajikistan and the EU in 2004. This agreement was ratified by 24 states of 27. The process of approval of the given agreement by the rest countries – Greece, France and Italy is planned to be accomplished in the first quarter this year.

Interparliamentary relations also develop intensively. Close contracts of the Parliaments’ members promote further development of parliamentary system, institutions of civil society and democracy in Tajikistan.

Today we observe further extension of trade and economic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the European Union. The turnover of goods between the countries for the previous year exceeded 760 million of US dollars, that covered 20% of foreign trade of our country. Tajikistan exported to the EU countries cotton, products of aluminum and textile industry. The country imported machine, transport and construction equipment, the products of chemical industry and agriculture.

Bilateral relations also flourishing within the EU programs: TACIS (currently ENPI - European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument), food security, overcoming of natural disasters consequences, promotion of small and medium business, civil rights protection, legislative system reforms, democratization of society, supremacy of law and freedom of speech, in the context of BOMCA/CADAP strengthening of regional security and borders, intensification of the struggle against illegal drug trafficking, struggle against terrorism and extremism. Since 1991 and till now the EU has granted 600 million Euro for these programs accomplishment.

We can positively state that the visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomalii Rahmon to Brussels under the invitation of the European Commission President M.J. Barroso in March, the meetings and discussions of Tajikistani Leader with the EC Head, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, MEPs have started a new chapter within bilateral relations of Tajikistan and the EU, and will promote international extension  of our relations in political, economic, legal, educational and other spheres, and also within further regional security strengthening.
Translated from asiaplus.tj