Astana, Kazakhstan (May 4-6, 2007)
Central Asia is gaining importance for the European Union. The primary challenges for European foreign policy regarding Central Asia include fighting terrorism and organized crime, securing access to commodities, preventing local conflicts, strengthening democratic structures and the rule of law, and nurturing closer political and economic ties.
iculating a Central Asia strategy has therefore been one of the German EU Presidency’s foreign-policy priorities. A fundamental condition for sustained cooperation between Europe and Central Asia is establishing a dialog among equal partners that incorporates the perspectives and priorities of the Central Asian states from the outset. The Bergedorf Round Table wishes to contribute to Europe’s inner coordination, to clarify the expectations of the European and Central Asian camps, and enable the development of concepts together with the Central Asian states.
Discussion centered on the issue of whether Central Asia could be considered a uniform region, what countries it includes, and what direction this region is taking. Participants also assessed the significance of Central Asia’s oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear energy reserves, and explored options for new transit routes. On the subject of security, Central Asia’s role in Western military operations in Afghanistan and the threat of drug trafficking were discussed. The Round Table then turned to cultural and social topics, such as Islam’s role in society, how social inequalities affect stability in the region’s countries, and how to counteract the creeping radicalization of additional segments of society. In the context of the EU Central Asia strategy, priorities and the reconciliation of the interest in energy supplies with respect for human rights ad democratic standards were examined. Finally, participants looked at the EU’s relations with other multinational actors in the region, including NATO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the OSCE.
The 137th Bergedorf Round Table in Astana marks the latest step in the Körber Foundation’s decades-long tradition of dialog with representatives of the post-Soviet states. It moves forward from the 134th Bergedorf Round Table on in Odessa in 2006 and the 131st Round Table on in Potsdam and Berlin in 2005. The discussion will also incorporate themes developed in the 129th Bergedorf Round Table in 2004 in Lviv on.
Downloading Protocol (PDF):