By Nigar Guliyeva
In Central Asia, more opportunities to take, than threats to tackle, said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for foreign and security policy.
She made the remark while addressing the international conference “Central Asia: Shared past and common future, cooperation for sustainable development and mutual prosperity” in Samarkand, Uzbekistan Nov.10.
“The European Union and Central Asia are partners for change. We have supported Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan on their way to join the World Trade Organization, and we hope we can do the same for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Central Asia can be the gateway between Europe and the Far East,” she said, noting that EU companies are keen to invest here.
Mogherini further reminded that the European Union is the largest development partner for Central Asia – as well as the largest development donor worldwide. “And we will remain so. Our assistance is focusing on citizens’ and governments’ main priorities: very concrete and tangible things, such as health, education and rural development,” she added.
Speaking about the integration, Mogherini stressed that the decision in this regard belongs to Central Asian states themselves.
“But should you decide – and it seems to me that you are deciding this – to follow this path, it is important that you know that the European Union is not only ready and willing to share our experience and expertise on this but to support the region and each of you on its cooperative choices with all our means; our means are not irrelevant and are many. We can also help each other to find together collective answers to global issues: climate change, the environment, water and energy management,” she noted.
Mogherini further noted that in Central Asia, she sees more opportunities to take, than threats to tackle.
“Opportunities for connectivity and economic growth; opportunities for greater security and regional cooperation; opportunities for human development, both in Europe and in Central Asia,” she said.
“I think it is clear that it is partnership, not isolation, not confrontation, that is the only effective answer to the challenges of our times, and also the only way to benefit from the opportunities of our time.”