There is a paper called “EU Central Asia Strategy“, which has been adopted in summer this year. You can read the text here. Some experts say this isn’t a strategy, because it doesn’t provide any analytical expertise on the region or a strategical move for the EU.
The main interests are:
1) security and stability
- what is security and stability in Central Asia? does it mean investing in police and military or building social security and strong institutions?
- any regime change in countries with poor institution and strong personalities on the throne means instability, insecurity.
2) Human Rights, Rule of Law, good governance and democratization
- engage with governments or with the civil society? governments are very strong, civil society is very weak.
- promote democracy or cooperate only with democracies? some believe in Europe democracy and rule of law is a precondition for the EU engagement in the region. So if there is no rule of law, EU doesn’t go there. It is worthy to ask when would EU engage with Central Asia? Central Asians usually make a good example of US taking 200 years to be where it is now. does it mean EU has to wait about 200 years and deal with democracies in CA?
3) youth and education
- Clear enough, kids are the future. If we don’t like the current elite, we will wait for the next generation to come, and if we have a chance to educate them in our universities, so that they know who we are and be supportive of our policies later.
- Erasmus Mundus and Tempus might be useful for some of you.
4) economic development trade and investment
- magic words indeed;
- EU’s promises : support of WTO accession, support various financial and economic reforms, trade-related technical assistance and a page long bullet pointed objectives
5) energy and transport
- EU – diversification of energy supplies, energy security
- CA – selling its energy mainly.
- development of regional infrastructure: transport
How would the whole CA region benefit from this deal? Only Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have boastful resources, Uzbekistan to a lesser degree, and almost nothing in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Will this energy-security-plan of the EU increase discrepancy between CA states?
6) environmental sustainability and water management
- Water management
- promote regional cooperation
- upgrade natural disaster preparedness…
7) common threats (terrorism, drugs, border management)
- BOMCA focus: implementation of Integrated Border Management
- cooperate with OSCE, on drugs and etc…
All of this is going to be done with the budget of € 750 million. Sounds like a lot. But this is for 6 years time, namely from 2007 to 2013. Divide 750 million to 6 years and then again to 5 (number of Central Asian States); simple calculation shows Central Asia will have 125 million per year, i.e. each CA state will have 25 million per year. Is it that much? Well only this shows that Central Asia is still not a priority on the agenda. It used to be in the first half of 2007, but the next EU presidencies do not focus on Central Asia at all.