24 May 2011

Is the EU-Central Asia Strategy running out of steam?

Jos Boonstra / Michael Denison

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The EU’s Central Asia Strategy approaches its fourth anniversary. In that time the EU has placed its relationship with Central Asia on a more structured footing. Although progress has been made in building dialogue and in furthering engagement, the strategy’s limitations are increasingly obvious. This brief argues that the driving force of the EU engagement should be based on a closer link between security and development. Engagement in this broad field should be underpinned by a values based approach that seeks to promote more explicitly reform on human rights, rule of law, governance and democracy. The momentous changes sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa have demonstrated that even the most apparently durable authoritarian regimes are vulnerable to sudden political shocks.