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Research Report

EU stakes in Central Asia

Anna Matveeva
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2006
Pages: 129
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep06976
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-10)

    For much of the 1990s, the distant and complex region of Central Asia was not on the EU radar screen, as the Union was preoccupied with more urgent priorities, such as the Balkans. As the region remained largely peaceful, it got little publicity and alarm bells signalling potential trouble spots did not ring with urgency. Lately, however, it has started to matter for the EU. The ongoing European military commitment in Afghanistan, the events in Andijan in Uzbekistan, the violent change of power in Kyrgyzstan – all of these highlight a highly volatile region. This Chaillot Paper seeks to help...

  2. (pp. 11-32)

    Central Asian states often get a bad press in the West. Civil war in Tajikistan, the ousting of the President in Kyrgyzstan, repression in Andijan and political killings in Kazakhstan present an image of Central Asia as a region rife with conflict and violence. From a Central Asian perspective, however, the picture is not as bleak. The region has remained intact, turmoil in Afghanistan notwithstanding. The viability of the new states has been ensured and the worst effects of the transition period are over. The region has experienced modest growth and asset-striping has not taken place on a vast scale....

  3. (pp. 33-52)

    The states of Central Asia, already experiencing serious internal problems, are affected by security challenges of the ‘new age’. These are partly of their own making and partly stem from the volatile neighbourhood in which they are located. Forces of globalisation take their toll by including Central Asia in an international jihad and connecting it to faraway drug markets. The states fight these dangers the way they can, but their response so far has not been promising. More crises may disrupt an already fragile regional system.

    Security concerns in Central Asia can have an impact on wider international relations in...

  4. (pp. 53-82)

    Since September 11 2001 the international focus on security in Central Asia, previously viewed as Russia’s domain, has heightened, and intervention in Afghanistan has brought new players into the region. Recently an element of rivalry over Central Asia has entered the relationship between the West on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, although their overall goals towards stability and security are parallel. This chapter assesses externally-driven dynamics in the region, warning of a danger of a new ‘Great Game’, reminiscent of the nineteenth-century competition between the expanding British and Russian empires for control over the broader...

  5. (pp. 83-108)

    Throughout the 1990s, Central Asia was not a priority for the EU, but September 11 brought the region into the spotlight. The EU perspectives on it are influenced by what constitutes its evolving interests in Central Asia. There was a wave of enthusiasm for the region’s energy and mineral resources in the 1990s, but opportunities for investment by EU companies proved limited. Currently, the EU’s core interests are its security concerns, i.e. how to prevent drugs, terrorists and illegal migrants from reaching the EU’s borders and how to stabilise a potentially explosive region in close proximity to Afghanistan. This essentially...

  6. (pp. 109-122)

    Throughout 2005, adverse security trends developed in Central Asia and the limits of Western influence over domestic politics in the region became increasingly obvious. Still, these setbacks are not a reason for disengagement. On the contrary, new policy approaches are needed to stabilise a potentially risky situation. Afghanistan, Islamism and state fragility make the case for engagement quite real, albeit constrained by the difficult regional environment.

    The EU has direct security interests in the region, embodied by unconventional dangers such as jihadi terrorism, drugs and criminal networks. Moreover, the Union’s energy dependence on external supply makes the Caspian attractive for...