The paper describes the economic relations between the European Union and Central Asia since the introduction of the EU’s Central Asia Strategy in 2007. The mapping involves EU interests, PCAs, financial aid and agreements related to the economic cooperation. Bilateral ties between the five Central Asian countries and selected EU member states (Latvia, Italy, Finland, Germany, Poland and France) are portrayed with regard to trade agreements, imports and exports, investments, common projects, possible disputes and labour migration.
The paper also casts light on the structure and development of Central Asian countries’ economies as well as on the role of the EU in their external trade and investment relations. The mapping reveals that the EU has great importance for Central Asian economies while Central Asia is not a core economic partner region for EU countries hitherto. With regard to the bilateral economic relations, there is a number of common interests and a considerable potential for further intensification. This can be seen in the case of Kazakhstan, which is currently the key Central Asian trade partner for many EU member states.
“The promotion of the rule of law and fight against corruption are of crucial importance to developing a positive business climate and making the Central Asian states attractive as markets for trade and investment. More fundamentally, the stability and security in Central Asia are an undisputable prerequisite for economic activities in the region.”
“Kazakhstan is a key trading partner of the EU member states, while Uzbekistan is increasing its opportunities to boost economic cooperation with the EU.”
“While helping the newly independent states to transform into market economies was the initial objective of the EU’s policy towards the successor states of the Soviet Union, connecting Central Asia with Europe was a new priority in the 2007 strategy.”