Stockholm Institute European Policy Studies
Svante E. Cornell and Niklas Swantström
China’s economic development and global impact are tilting the economic, political and military balances that have shaped the world since the end of the cold war. One fundamental step in China’s global strategy is the infrastructure project BRI. In this report, Svante E. Cornell and Niklas Swanström analyse its impact on the EU’s neighbourhood as well as on the European project. (2020:1)
One step in China’s global outlook is the comprehensive infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), opening a clear set of crossroads for the EU. The BRI project was presented by the Chinese government in 2013 as a series of trade corridors by land and sea. One major part of the project aims to connect Europe and China through Central Asia.
In this report, Svante Cornell and Niklas Swanström deliver a thorough account of the BRI’s planned infrastructure and financial setup. The authors also analyse how these trade routes affect the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood and Central Asia in relation to the rule of law and the regional political-economic development. Finally, they consider what pressure the BRI exerts on the EU system and whether the interests of China and the EU are compatible.
One conclusion is that the EU has not payed enough attention to the geopolitical dimension of their relations to the countries on the Eurasian continent. Therefore, the authors suggest that the EU should focus more on European interests, and not only on norms and values.
In June 2019, the EU released a new strategy for Central Asia. This strategy was formulated in response to rapid changes in the region, ranging from China's Belt and Road Initiative, new reform initiatives across the region, and a new momentum for regional cooperation. What does this strategy mean for the EU's relations with Central Asia? And does this mean that the EU now leads the developed and democratic world in engaging with Central Asia, and is pointing a path forward for the US?
This Forum meeting marked the release of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute's new Silk Road Paper on the subject, A Steady Hand: The EU’s 2019 Strategy and Policy Toward Central Asia.
Speaker: Svante Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at AFPC
Moderator: S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at AFPC
Where: Middle East Institute: 1763 N Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20036
When: Wednesday, December 5, 2019 from 2:30 - 4:00 pm
By S. Frederick Starr
With respect to Afghanistan, the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the major international financial institutions are all caught in a time warp. Dating back a century and a half, this distortion today impedes Afghanistan’s development as a normal country. No less, it helps isolate the other countries of Central Asia from a nearby major market, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and pushes the other countries of Central Asia into a one-sided relationship with their former imperial overlord, Russia. It’s time to correct this long-standing mistake.
Svante E. Cornell and Johan Engvall
October 2, 2017