Cooperation with the European Unionis one of the key vectors of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy strategy.
The partnership between the parties is reflected in the common goals based on ensuring universal peace and security, countering global threats and nowadays challenges, achieving stability and prosperity through constructive interaction.

By the leadership of the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov – the peace-loving foreign policy of Turkmen state, aimed at establishing broad international cooperation in the common interest, the traditional dialogue between Turkmenistan and the EU at the present stage has reached a qualitatively new level and gained new content. In particular, the first visit of the President of Turkmenistan to Brussels in 2007 contributed to bringing this constructive dialogue to a new level, which was later followed by the opening of “House of Europe” in Ashgabat in 2008 and then the department of the EU diplomatic mission in Turkmenistan began its work. In recent years, the exchange of delegations at various levels has noticeably intensified, business, scientific and cultural contacts are being strengthened and expanded, a number of important joint projects have already been and continue to be implemented.

In frames of the cooperation and trade agreement, the 18th session of the Turkmenistan-EU joint committee was held in Brussels in February 2019 with the participation of the Turkmen delegation. The inter-parliamentary dialogue is maintained at the level of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan and the European Parliament.

Also, regular meetings are heldbetween the parties on the development of cooperation in the fields of energy, transport and logistics.Among the visits that took place in early 2019 are the visits of the European Union Special Representative for Central Asia and the Managing Director for Central Asia of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – EBRD.

At the same time, it should be noted that one of the significant events in the development of Turkmen-European relations was the signing on July 6, 2019 of the document – “Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community on the establishment and the privileges and immunities of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkmenistan ”, within the framework of the visit of Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission in Ashgabat.

This event is also intended to contribute to the successful implementation of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia and to give impetus to cooperation between the states of the region.

Turkmenistan plays a significant role in the common relations of the EU with the Central Asian region and occupies a significant place in the European Strategy for a new partnership with Central Asia, approved by the EU Council on June 17, 2019.

As stressed during the visit of Federica Mogherini, the European Union is sincerely interested in comprehensively expanding the productive dialogue with Turkmenistan, a strategic partner that today occupies key positions in the Central Asian region and demonstrates its high peacekeeping potential in the development of regional and interregional cooperation.

Stating the commitment of Turkmenistan to the European vector in its foreign policy, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov notes that the impressive potential of Turkmenistan allows for the implementation of large-scale international projects that meet the interests of all parties involved. The steps taken by the parties vividly confirm the high interest of both the Turkmen state and the European Union to bring traditional cooperation to a qualitatively new level, to give it a more stable dynamic both in a bilateral format and in the framework of multilateral interaction of two key regions of the continent: the EU and Central Asia.

The opening of a full-fledged EU Delegation in Turkmenistan demonstrates the growing mutual strategic interest in activating mutually beneficial cooperation between Ashgabat and Brussels in such promising areas as the trade and economic sector, energy, transport and communications, high-tech, humanitarian spheres, including scientific and educational cultural relations, the rule of law, ecology, water management, and joint efforts in ensuring universal peace, safety and stability.

The large-scale reforms carried out in Turkmenistan, initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, as well as the implementation by the European Union of new approaches to partnership with Turkmenistanactas a solid basis for effective joint activities.

In the economic sector, a partnership between the EU and Turkmenistan is being built in areas such as trade, energy and transport. As is known, the European Union is among the three largest trading partners of Turkmenistan with a volume of mutual trade turnover of 1.6 billion euros.

In the context of the energy vector of cooperation, Turkmenistan has an important role in the EU Energy Security Strategy. The parties are committed to the implementation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, designed to bring Turkmen hydrocarbon energy resources to European markets.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation, signed between the EU and Turkmenistan in 2008, provides a framework for exchanging information on energy policy, diversifying transit routes and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency.

Turkmenistan and the European Union are interested in expanding partnerships in such an important area as energy, stipulated both to the ever-growing needs of European countries for energy carriers and the need to develop concerted steps to create a new energy security architecture that meets modern realities. Currently, the European Union is studying the proposal of Turkmenistan to conclude a Framework Agreement on Energy Partnership between Turkmenistan and the European Union.

The European Union highly appreciates and supports the international initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan, aimed at developing balanced solutions to topical issues of concern to the entire world community, creating optimal conditions for sustainable development on a regional and global scale.

In this context, it should be noted that the European Union welcomes the efforts of Turkmenistan to further strengthen security at the regional and international levels with the participation of neighboring Afghanistan and to provide comprehensive support for a peaceful settlement of the situation in this country, through good neighborhood policy and humanitarian assistance to the brotherly people of Afghanistan, as well as attracting in regional projects such as TAPI, Lapis Lazuli etc. This approach is supported by the EU through the High Level Dialogue on Political and Security Issues, the Border Security Initiative in Central Asia and a number of related projects (such as the Border Management Program in Central Asia and the Central AsiaDrug Action Program) implemented at regional level.

Today, the development of transport communications is becoming one of the most important conditions for an effective international partnership. This is evidenced by the EU strategy adopted in October 2018: Connecting Europe and Asia, which provides for the establishment of transport links.

Considering that Turkmenistan is geographically located at the crossroads of routes along the North-South, West-East, the development of transport infrastructure is one of the priorities of the state policy of Turkmenistan.
The commissioned new Turkmenbashi International Sea Port plays an important role in regional development and interaction between Asia and Europe. At the same time, the project of the international transport route Caspian Sea – Black Sea, connecting the seaports of Turkmenbashi and Constanta, is of great importance.

With the support of the EU, projects are being implemented in Turkmenistan in the financial and economic sector, including in such areas as rational use of natural resources and environmental protection, support for private sector development, renewable energy sources etc.

Currently, by introducing international standards, advanced technologies, and software in the country, the national project “Promoting further sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas” is being implemented, focused on stimulating entrepreneurship in the sectors of the agro-industrial complex of the country’s regions.

The key vector of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the EU is the scientific and educational sphere. Within such educational programs as TEMPUS, ERASMUS MUNDUS, ERASMUS +, KAREN, dozens of projects have been implemented for the training and professional development of personnel, professional skills of specialists for various sectors of the economy and the social fields. Over the past period, exchanges between universities in Europe and Central Asia, internship programs for young specialists have been intensified.

Today, within the framework of the European program ERASMUS +, 3 projects are being implemented in Turkmenistan, including on innovations in agriculture, improvement of higher education in Central Asia through modern technologies, and management in the transport industry.

nother important area of cooperation is collaboration in improving the political and legal framework for the development of the state and society. Turkmenistan participates in the EU regional project “Platform of the Rule of Law”, which organizes seminars, trainings and other training events. One of the instruments of cooperation is also the annually conducted dialogue on human rights, the last of which took place in March 2019 in Ashgabat.

Another promising area of partnership is the area of environmental protection, especially the conservation and rational use of water and biological resources, the prevention of the effects of global climate change, the reduction of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and the fight against desertification.

Turkmenistan, by chairing the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea – IFAS in 2017-2019, is making efforts to contribute to further enhancing the international authority of the Fund and its positive role in modern global processes on sustainable development.

Taking into account the fact that Turkmenistan has many wonderful places of nature and historical sites that attract tourists’ attention, the intensification of cooperation with the EU will open up great prospects for bringing cultures and people together.

All of the above indicates that Turkmenistan is taking consistent steps in expanding cooperation with its European partners.

By consistently implementing a peace-loving policy, neutral Turkmenistan seeks to put its creative potential at the service of all mankind, taking in this direction concrete, effective steps, as evidenced by international initiatives put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov aimed at strengthening positive processes in the regional and global dimension. In this aspect, great importance is attached to the further development of the Turkmenistan-EU dialogue, which meets the interests of the parties and the Sustainable Development Goals.