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The European Unions New Central Asia Strategy: Possibilities and Limits of Soft Power
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

The European Unions New Central Asia Strategy: Possibilities and Limits of the Soft Power

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2019-4-68-80
© 2019       Irina L. PROKHORENKO
Received 29.11.2019. 
Irina L. PROKHORENKO (irinapr@imemo.ru), Doc. Sci. (Polit.), Head of the Sector of International Organizations and Global Political Governance, Department of International Political Problems.  
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation.

With the use of spatial approach and discourse analysis, the article explores interests, priorities, potential and resources of “soft power” of the European Union in the competition for influence in the former Soviet republics of Middle Asia – Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and also in Kazakhstan. The author offers her own periodization of the EU strategy in Central Asia analyzing it as a conceptual plan with defined steps since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The article identifies the key factors that affect formulation and development of the EU differential treatment of the post-Soviet States taking into account the specificity of Central Asia, its unique identity, political culture and business ethics. The author evaluates the new EU strategy in Central Asia which was approved in June 2019 by the EU Council as well as new bilateral Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements between the EU and the States of the region. Particular attention is paid to the problem of assessing the effectiveness of the EU strategy in Central Asia in view of the nature of the European regional grouping, the EU political and institutional structure and organization of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. Transregionalism is considered to be an important instrument of the EU strategy in Central Asia. The author defines this tool this approach as a cooperation between the EU and a group of States of a diverse and not organizationally structured region, on the one hand, and between the EU and a regional power, which has the potential to act as a driver of integration processes, on the other. The EU sees Kazakhstan not only as an unopposed leader and a regional power, but also as a kind of a “bridge” between the European Union and Central Asia based on its stated Eurasian identity and its readiness to adopt the EU regulations and values. 

For citation:

Prokhorenko I. The European Unions New Central Asia Strategy: Possibilities and Limits of the Soft Power. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2019, no 4, pp. 68-80. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2019-4-68-80

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