The Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs has today published a report on the EU’s new strategy for Central Asia, ahead of a press conference in the Churchill Room at Cliveden House, Berkshire, at 10.30 am on Wednesday 5th December, on occasion of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the ECFA Advisory Council.
The press conference will be chaired by Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, former Foreign Minister of Austria and former EU Commissioner for External Relations, and the report will be presented by The Hon. Franco Frattini, former Foreign Minister of Italy and Chamber President of the Council of State of Italy. Ms. Natasha Khanjenkova, Managing Director for Russia and Central Asia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), will provide the summing up.
The report, which is the synthesis of expert contributions from fifteen international institutions including the United Nations, the EBRD, the OECD and several universities, contains a chapter of conclusions and recommendations aimed at informing the European External Action Service as it considers its new Strategy for Central Asia covering the period 2020 – 2027. Specifically, among other recommendations the report suggests that the EU’s new Strategy for Central Asia should aim to:
- Limit its focus to a “realistic assessment of [the EU’s] interests and competitive advantages in Central Asia”;
- Consider regional differences, rather than adopt a blanket approach to Central Asian states;
- Shift cooperation from a conference- and dialogue-based relationship to a more practical and operational approach, with hands-on projects and summits in each Central Asian state;
- Bring this approach to bear on human rights dialogue with Central Asian states, and move away from the “Eurocentric” perspective which has prevailed until now, with limited results;
- Focus on effective “soft power” initiatives such as improving health services, justice and law enforcement, as well as fighting corruption.
The EU will be announcing its new approach to this important region in the first half of 2019 and the ECFA hopes to play an influential role in seeking to deepen economic and institutional ties between European countries and the states of Central Asia.
This year the ECFA Advisory Council’s guests at Cliveden House will include, among others, H.E. Ambassador Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia, and the former US Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, as well as senior political and business leaders from the countries that straddle the modern “Silk Route”. The annual meeting will culminate in a formal dinner in the French Dining Room this evening, attended by statesmen, diplomats, business leaders and representatives of the armed forces.
To view the report and full details on the external contributors, click here. Members of the media who wish to attend the press conference at 10:30 am on Wednesday 5th December are cordially invited to inform the organisers at email@example.com.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Rauan Kenzhekhanuly