Regional Integration in Eurasia & the European Union: Exploring Opportunities for Collaboration

10 March 2020
Research Seminar

12:30 - 14:30

There can be little doubt – there is a strong political will for greater integration across Eurasia, as two grand and ambitious regional integration projects attest. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), founded in 2014 by Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, was established to boost regional integration among the economies of Eurasian region and to enhance the economic development and cooperation among its member countries. The second, the Belt and Road Initiative, launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to “enhance regional connectivity” and “construct a unified large market” throughout the region and beyond.

One question that looms large is how the EU, the other grand integration scheme in the region, will take to these Russian and Chinese driven initiatives, and what avenues for cooperation exist. Given that the new strategy of the EU Commission is to enhance the EU’s presence in global power politics, making EU external governance more effective and sustainable, Central Eurasia, spanning from Belarus to Mongolia, will certainly provide a fruitful ground for testing this strategy. By making ‘geopolitics’ the forefront of the new strategy the EU may, however, struggle to engender partnerships for peace and prosperity, and develop cooperative orders for more sustainable global governance in the increasingly complex and contested world.

This situation begs several key questions:

  • How important is regional integration in Eurasia, and what is the role of the Belt and Road Initiative?
  • To what extent does Eurasia have the capacity for further integration?
  • What are the challenges of cooperation between the EU and the EAEU?

To tackle these questions, United Nations University - CRIS, together with the DOC Research Institute, will bring together a range of experts, both academics and practitioners, including:

  • Elena Korosteleva 
    Professor of International Politics and Jean Monnet Chair in European Politics, University of Kent
  • Cyn-Young Park
    Director for Regional Cooperation and Integration Department, Asian Development Bank
  • Fabienne Bossuyt
    Assistant Professor at the Centre for EU Studies
  • Mario Apostolov
    Regional Adviser at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • Behrooz Gharleghi
    Senior Researcher, DOC
  • Richard Higgott (moderator)
    Researcher at the Institute of European Studies and Distinguished Professor of Diplomacy in the Vesalius College of Global Affairs at the Vrije Universiteit of Brussels

The discussion will also touch upon the Eurasia Integration Index, launched in November 2019, which was created to evaluate the extent to which the economies of Eurasia (OECD definition) are integrated, and to identify the determinants of integration in the region.


Greater Birmingham and West Midlands Brussels Office

Avenue d'Auderghem 22-28 Oudergemselaan, Brussels, Belgium 

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