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  • Author: Nargis Kassenova
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a profound connection between economics and politics. A stronger economy creates a basis for more ambitious political actions and programmes. At the opposite end, an economic downturn and recession breed social tensions and can undermine the political order. Both the EU and Central Asian states have been seriously affected by the global economic crisis, in different ways. This EUCAM working paper focuses on the impact of the crisis on Central Asian politics and geopolitics and the implications of these developments for EU engagement in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the start of the 2000s, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has become an increasingly important player on the Central Asian scene, which until then had been essentially divided between Russia and the US. Today, Central Asia's future lies in its ability to avoid the destabilisations of the Afghan–Pakistan zone, and through Chinese influence, to partake of the Asia–Pacific's economic prosperity. In less than two decades, Beijing has managed to make a massive and multiform entry onto the Central Asian scene: it has proven itself a loyal partner on the level of bilateral diplomacy and has succeeded in turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a regional structure appreciated by its members. China has also become a leading actor in trade as well as in the hydrocarbon sector and infrastructure. In examining the shift that China has generated in Central Asian realities, this paper focuses on the political and geopolitical impact of Beijing's growing influence, along with the economic implications of the Chinese presence in Central Asia. To what extent will this affect the objectives of the European Union? China is one of the EU's economic competitors in domains such as energy; it obstructs cooperation between Central Asian states and Western countries, and it encourages the authoritarian tendencies of political regimes. Yet, partnership and economic competition go hand in hand, as EU texts recognise. In addition, the EU's rationale for setting up in Central Asia is not to compete with neighbouring states, but instead to seek cooperation in accordance with the idea that a multiplicity of actors will guarantee the zone's stability and its geopolitical balance. So what joint interest might China and the EU have in Central Asia? On a certain number of questions such as security and long-term development, the EU and China share the same concerns and Beijing is seeking greater collaboration with Europe.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Marlène Laruelle
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is a power unlike others in Central Asia, given its role as the region's former coloniser, which started in the 19th century and even in the 18th for some of the northern parts of Kazakhstan. This legacy has its positive and negative aspects: it has been positive insofar as it has involved a long period of Russo–Central Asian cohabitation that has given rise to a common feeling of belonging to the same 'civilisation'; it has been negative insofar as it has accrued all the political resentment and cultural misinterpretations of the coloniser–colonised relationship. Russian–Central Asian relations are therefore complex, with each of the actors having a highly emotional perception of its relation to the other.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia