EU’S CENTRAL ASIA POLICY: THE ADOPTION OF A NEW STRATEGY PAPER 2007-2013
Nicklas Norling, Project Coordinator, Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (U.S.A.) & Silk Road Studies Program (Sweden), Assistant Editor of the China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly (Uppsala, Sweden)
As Germany took over the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of 2007 one of its primary tasks was to redirect and reform EU’s Central Asia policy before the Council’s adoption of a new Strategy Paper for Central Asia in June. As Germany’s Presidency Program explicitly states: “The Presidency will pay particular attention to the strategically significant region of Central Asia. The EU plans to adopt a strategy on Central Asia defining its interests and objectives.” Moreover, following a meeting with MEPs on 23 January, 2007, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced that Germany would launch a new “Central Asia Initiative” which would bundle together energy and security, the two overarching interests of the EU in the region, into a single coherent strategy. It is still, as of May 2007, unclear if this initiative will complement the Regional Strategy Paper or be integrated into it. Nevertheless, the urgency of a redirection of policy could scarcely be understated considering that Europe’s substantial interests in Central Asia rarely have been more evident while the absence of strategy seldom has been clearer.
According to the draft Regional Strategy Paper for Central Asia 2007-2013 the EU’s strategic objectives are:
1) To ensure the stability and the security of the countries of the region;
2) To help eradicate poverty and……………….