Due to Central Asia’s strategic and geopolitical location, as well as due to the vicinity with Afghanistan, the ´five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have become a focal point for Europe’s attention. The region faces several problems, such as security threats as a result of Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism and drug trafficking. Other challenges include sustainable development, poverty reduction, democratization and good governance as well as human rights standards. On 22 June 2007 the European Council adopted the EU Strategy for Central Asia. It was updated in 2015. This Strategy is the framework within which the relations between the EU and Central Asia develop. The framework covers the areas of democracy, economic development, education, energy, environment and water resources management, good governance, human rights, intercultural dialogue, migration, rule of law, trade and investment, transport. It is planned to update the EU Central Asia strategy by the end of 2019.
By opening its Embassy in Astana in 2007, Austria asserted its interest in this region. This Embassy is responsible for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The Austrian Embassy for Uzbekistan is located in Vienna. There are also Austrians employed at the various EU, OSCE and UN missions throughout Central Asia.
With regards to specific projects, Austria is involved in the areas of border security and border management, e.g. in the framework of the projects BOMCA and CABSI (originally Austrian initiatives). Austria is also contributing to training programmes – e.g. via courses offered by the Diplomatic Academy Vienna.