European Parliament Official Underlines Strategic Importance of Central Asia

European Parliament Official Underlines Strategic Importance of Central Asia
Vice-Chair of European Parliament delegation to Central Asia Andris Ameriks

European Parliament aims to build a strong and modern partnership between the EU and Central Asia, the Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s delegation to Central Asia Andris Ameriks says in his opinion article published this week in a Brussels-based The Parliament magazine.

“What has made Central Asia an increasingly important partner for the EU is its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, as well as its share in EU energy imports and the market potential of 70 million inhabitants,” says the member of the European Parliament in his commentary.

The MEP says the EU should step up partnership with Central Asian countries, to promote peace in Afghanistan, adding that “this is very important for the whole region’s security and beyond.”

“In order to promote prosperity in the region, it is crucial to develop a competitive private sector and support an open investment environment and economic modernization,” writes Ameriks in the magazine. “In November 2019, the EU launched three new regional programmes, supporting investments, competitiveness, rule of law and trade in Central Asia.”

The EP representative to Central Asia says the EU wants to encourage the modernisation process in Central Asian countries, and as such the role of education and research will be essential. “Here the Erasmus+ programme will be very important and should be strengthened,” the MEP adds.

“The establishment of a new platform – the EU Central Asia Economic Forum – was agreed in order to support intra-regional and international trade and economic cooperation. The first Economic Forum will be held in Bishkek, under the initiative of Kyrgyzstan, in the first half of 2020,” Amariks writes.

The EP official says the EU is fully aware that the Central Asian region is becoming increasingly interesting for other players but is not interested in geopolitical rivalry, instead, the EU wants to facilitate regional cooperation with all players in order to support sustainable development, stability and security in the region.

Andris Ameriks, a former deputy mayor of Riga, is a Latvian politician and economist who has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since the 2019 elections. He is also serving on the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Petitions of the EP.