THE EU IN CENTRAL ASIA: STRATEGY IN THE CONTEXT OF EURASIAN GEOPOLITICS
Nargis Kassenova, Lecturer, Department of Political Science of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
The European Union is slowly but surely becoming an entity able to pursue a coordinated foreign policy. Every geopolitical actor needs a strategy that can be applied both to all other big actors (the U.S., Russia, and China) and to the regions affecting Europe’s security and prosperity (Central Asia is one of them). The Central Asian region is unique in the fact that it is “impacted” between the EU’s largest and most important neighbor (Russia) and an emerging megapower (China). This means that the EU’s regional policy is strongly affected by its relations with both powers. Here I intend to assess the EU’s political prospects in Central Asia in the context of the relations among the European Union, Russia, and China.
The EU “Neighbors of Neighbors” Policy in the Making in Central Asia
So far the EU does not have a more or less complete Central Asian policy. Despite the fact that the TACIS program, which has been underway since 1991, brought over 1 billion Euro to the local countries in the form of financial aid, United Europe has just become aware of the region as a very specific part of the post-Soviet expanse and of its geopolitical challenges.
In the 1990s, Europe regarded Central Asia as the most backward and undeveloped part of the CIS, unprepared to embrace Western standards and values. It was generally perceived as a source of……………..