Central Asia is an important geostrategic region on account of its rich natural resources, its proximity to Afghanistan, and, last but not least, its location at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The EU’s Central Asia strategy, which was launched in 2007, is designed to bring about sustained and long-term cooperation with all five Central Asian countries. Can it be said three years later that the strategy has been a success? And how have other actors, and China in particular, contributed to the development of the region?
Ambassador Pierre Morel, EU Special Representative for Central Asia and for the Crisis in Georgia, met with representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks for the first Political Breakfast of this year to discuss these questions.
The participants discussed both the importance of the Central Asian gas and oil reserves in terms of energy policy, and the strategic significance of the region’s proximity to Afghanistan. Stability risks peculiar to Central Asia, as some participants pointed out, were the terrorist networks which operate in the region, and smuggling that involves drugs and weapons. The EU can make a contribution to stability and security in Central Asia by continuing to improve both diplomatic and economic ties. The consensus of the discussion was that it is imperative to do more to exploit the potential of Central Asia.
For 50 years the Körber Foundation’s Bergedorf Round Table has sought to encourage mutual understanding between east and west. During the Cold War the Bergedorf Round Table was a unique forum for candid discussions between politicians and experts from both sides. Today the Körber Foundation is attempting to promote a dialogue with the New East and the rising powers in Asia. The Körber Foundation’s projects in the field of international affairs are designed to encourage an awareness among political decision-makers and the population at large of the interests, motives and goals of the countries which make up the New East, and to pinpoint opportunities for closer cooperation between Europe and Asia.
Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.