28 Mar 2007

The European Union’s Strategic Role in Central Asia

Neil J. Melvin

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The German Presidency has taken the initiative to launch a process of rethinking the involvement of the European Union in the five states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with the intention of producing a new EU Strategy on Central Asia. This paper welcomes this initiative to strengthen the EU’s presence in the region as timely and sorely needed. In addition to finding the right mix of policies, however, he argues that the Strategy should clearly distinguish the EU from those international actors who are focused exclusively on stability and the status quo in the region and accordingly should promote policies that strengthen political, social and economic change.