The EU and Central Asia: Expanding Economic Cooperation, Trade, and Investment
Svante E. Cornell and Johan Engvall
Since the independence of the Central Asian states, this landlocked region has taken time to reconnect with the world, including Europe. Twenty-five years ago, many underestimated the diverse challenges – infrastructural, economic, political – that impeded the region’s trade and connectivity with the rest of the world. Yet as trade statistics show, much has been accomplished in a quarter century. The EU may not be a major security actor in Central Asia, but its importance as an economic partner is universally acknowledged. While energy relations were a key driver of cooperation in the early days of independence, the emergence of Central Asia as a corridor for land-based trade between Europe and Asia is in the process of overtaking energy and establishing itself as the main vector of economic relations.
The European Union’s Political and Security Engagement with Central Asia: How to Move Forward
Despite an ambitious set of policy initiatives for Central Asia, the EU is punching below its weight in a region where Russia and China are far more influential. Ten years after the EU launched a strategy for Central Asia, the EU is still facing substantial challenges in implementing its strategy successfully. In the meantime, the dynamics in and around the region have changed and these new realities are not reflected in the 2007 strategy. After providing a brief overview of EU-Central Asia relations, this article identifies a set of nine policy recommendations with respect to what should be the main elements, tools and approaches of a revised EU strategy for Central Asia.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.