Lithuania's Foreign Minister and the EU Special Representative for Central Asia discuss a new EU Strategy for Central Asia
On 14 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Ambassador Peter Burian. They discussed the development of relations between the EU and Central Asia, with an emphasis on a new EU Strategy for Central Asia, which would be adopted in 2019.
The EU Special Representative for Central Asia P. Burian shared his insights into the situation in the region, informed Linkevičius about the outcomes of most important EU-Central Asia high-level meetings in 2018, and presented the agenda for the EU-Central Asia relations.
"Lithuania is interested in a stable, safe and successfully developing Central Asia that can attract considerable attention from the world's largest countries because of its geographical location and abundant natural resources. In implementing the strategy, it is important for the European Union to crystalize its common interests and, taking into consideration the needs of countries in Central Asia, to coordinate its actions with the states and international organizations with which we share common values," said L. Linkevičius.
According to the Foreign Minister L. Linkevičius, Lithuania backs such priorities of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, as support for the region‘s internal reforms, the development of connections, the enhancement of the business environment and greater involvement of Afghanistan in the EU-Central Asia programs and initiatives.
P. Burian emphasized that the experience gained by the Baltic states when developing regional cooperation and implementing economic and democratic reforms could be of great benefit also to countries in Central Asia.
On 13 September, the Ambassador P. Burian delivered a lecture on the challenges and opportunities that were opening up for the EU-Central Asia relations at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University and participated in discussions with its students.
P. Burian was appointed as the EU Special Representative for Central Asia on 15 April 2015. In June 2018, the mandate was extended for another 20 months.
The European Union is co-operating with the five countries in the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – on the basis of the 2007 Strategy for Central Asia. The conclusions of the Council of the European Union that were adopted on 19 June 2017 included a decision to develop the new Strategy.