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  • Author: Peter Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Education Initiative was launched as part of the EU-Central Asia Strategy in 2007. By 2009, the initiative had prioritised higher and vocational education and emphasised links with the Bologna Process. Attempts were made to establish the EU- Central Asia Education Platform – a re-branding of Tempus and Erasmus Mundus programmes within a set of specific activities – and outline the ways in which internal EU education policy development processes could be externalised to the Central Asia region. However, the slow and uncertain pace of development of the Education Initiative, with the exception of the CAREN programme, calls for an analysis of the logic, content and practice of what has been attempted. It is also necessary to examine the political and institutional context that explains the lack of traction gained with education policy actors in the EU and Central Asia, and the prospects for a more compelling vision and a concrete programme of implementation that could meet the real and urgent needs of Central Asian countries. Drawing on the evidence provided by participants in the development of the Education Initiative, this paper concludes by outlining an agenda for addressing its weaknesses.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Jos Boonstra, Jacqueline Hale
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) assistance in general and to Central Asia in particular is a complicated, many sided and fairly opaque business. In 2007, a few months prior to the Council's approval of an EU Strategy for Central Asia under the German Presidency, the Commission also presented two documents: an overarching Regional Strategy Paper for assistance to Central Asia over the period 2007–13 (RSP) and a more detailed and programme-orientated Central Asia Indicative Programme (IP), from 2007 until 2010.4 Over a seven-year period, 719 million Euros were to be set aside for assistance to the region through the new EU Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). In addition, the EU has allocated more modest funds through global thematic instruments. Meanwhile, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and more recently the European Investment Bank (EIB) are stepping up activity in Central Asia and several member states have their own assistance programmes (foremost Germany) that are likely to match the DCI amount.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Germany
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Evgeny Vinokurov
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is at present an overlapping but inadequately coordinated combination of strategic trans-continental transport corridors or axes stretching across the Eurasian landmass, centred on or around Central Asia. There are three such initiatives - from the EU, China and the Asian Development Bank, and the Eurasian Economic Community. This paper reviews these several strategic transport maps, and makes proposals for their coordination and rationalisation. So far the EU Central Asia strategy has not paid much attention to these questions. However the EU's own initiatives (the Pan-European Axes and the TRACECA programme) are in need of updating and revision to take into account major investments being made by other parties. In particular the case is made for a 'Central Eurasian Corridor' for rail and road that would reach from Central Europe across Ukraine and Southern Russia into West Kazakhstan, and thence to the East Kazakh border with China, thus joining up with and completing the West China-West Europe corridor promoted by the Asian Development Bank. There should also be a North-South corridor that would cross over this Central Eurasian Corridor in West Kazakhstan and lead south to the Middle East and South Asia. These adaptations of existing plans could become an exemplary case of cooperation between Central Asia and all the major economic powers of the Eurasian landmass.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Agriculture constitutes one of the main sectors in the economies of Central Asia: cotton production and export, mainly in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and to a lesser extent in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan; a booming grain sector in Kazakhstan; and a long tradition of vegetable cultivation throughout the region. The agrarian question is a sensitive one since the population is still predominantly rural in four of the five republics (all except Kazakhstan) and because food safety is not ensured in the two poorest states (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). Land reform would be a priority for the growth of investment, increased productivity, and, consequently, the reduction of rural unemployment and poverty. However, pressed by the choice of cotton versus self-sufficiency in food production, the Central Asian states remain hesitant. They must also manage many structural problems, including high levels of corruption in the agrarian administrative organs, the opacity of decisionmaking structures for the export of production, quasi-slavery in some impoverished rural areas, child labour, and serious environmental problems related to the overuse of the soil.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • 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