Sketching the Context - A Comparative Overview of the EU's and China's Engagement with Central Asia
This chapter offers a comparative overview of the European Union’s (EU) and China's relations with the countries of Central Asia, tracing their involvement and interests in the region from 1991 until today. The EU has been active as a donor in the region since the early days of post-Soviet independence. The EU's role in Central Asia has evolved significantly, from that of little more than an invisible and arguably ineffective donor to that of a strategic actor. The EU explicitly links the need to strengthen the resilience of the Central Asian countries to the goal of addressing security issues, including the root causes of instability, such as poverty, corruption, mismanagement of natural resources, and environmental degradation. The strategy played an important part in enhancing the EU's role in Central Asia, backed up by a significant increase in funding and resulting in a more strategic approach to the EU's engagement with the region.