The EU, Central Asia, and the Development of Continental Transport and Trade
Since the collapse of the USSR, a number of initiatives have embarked, separately or together, on the momentous task of rebuilding trade and transportation arteries across Central Asia and the Caucasus. The underlying logic has been two-fold: by reconnecting the landlocked new states of the region to their neighbors and historic trading partners, the heart of Asia can become a land corridor connecting Europe to Asia. This paper plots out the main lines of transport and trade development in Central Asia and their potential for both regional states and the European Union. To this end, the paper presents an overview of existing arrangements and plans, ranging from the EU’s TRACECA project to China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. Following this, it seeks to look two decades into the future of Eurasia-wide transport and trade. On that basis, it identifies four major emerging issues, including the geopolitics of transport and trade as well as the necessity of developing soft infrastructure, which are bound to become important both to Central Asia and Europe but which, to date, have been relatively overlooked.
Fourth Vector: Making Sense of Kazakhstan’s Activism in International Organizations
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has developed a track record of being the most proactive and innovative former Soviet republic in the sphere of international cooperation. Kazakhstan’s […]
The EU and Kazakhstan: Developing a Partnership in Trade and Transport
In 2015, the EU revised its Strategy for Central Asia, and finalized an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan. These welcome steps will not turn the EU into a […]
Terror in Stockholm
Last week’s terror attack in Sweden should raise important questions about how the West defines its enemies. Last Friday, an ISIS supporter rammed a truck into a department store in […]
Russia: an Enabler of Jihad?
Russian officials have had to contain their glee in monitoring recent political events in America and Europe. They appear to think their days in the cold may soon be over. […]
The Fallacy of ‘Compartmentalisation’: the West and Russia from Ukraine to Syria
In the post-Soviet space as well as the Middle East, Western leaders have largely failed to heed ample evidence that the goals of the Russian leadership are fundamentally opposed to […]
Kazakhstan: An Island of Stability in a Turbulent Region
Kazakhstan’s stability and predictability has been central to the newly uprgraded status of relations with the European Union. Key to this is Astana’s model of orderly and centralized reforms as […]