The Growing EU Engagement in Central Asia: Challenging the Russian Predominance in its Traditional Backyard

On 18 November 2022, Samarkand hosted the “EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference: Global Gateway”. Preceded by the late October 2022 visit to Astana by European Council President Charles Michel, the summit confirmed a new and more vigorous European push towards the Central Asian region, historically located in the backyard of the Russian Federation.

The high-level Connectivity Conference was well-attended, including the participation of the EU’s High Representative for External Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Joseph Borrell; Foreign and Deputy Foreign Ministers of the Central Asian countries; high-ranking officials of EU the member states; as well as international financial institutions and civil society representatives. At the meeting, the parties affirmed their commitment to intensify cooperation between the EU and Central Asia, as well as within the region. This involves strengthening energy security through the development of alternative energy supply routes, enhancing sustainable and secure digitalisation —including digital sovereignty—; improving transport connections; and transitioning into a green, sustainable, climate- and ecologically-positive economy and e-commerce environment.

Author: Luca Urciuolo, EIAS Junior Researcher

Photo credits: Commons Wikimedia