Towards a New EU Strategy for Central Asia: Innovation, Research and Technology Development as Areas of Cooperation between the EU and China in Central Asia

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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The EU is witnessing a unique momentum for the reinforcement of its role in Central Asia. The approach to the region must be pragmatic, creating tangible results for the local economies in order to make the EU competitive in the power battle with players such as China. China’s support for the modernization of the Central Asian countries is tangible, with new infrastructure and logistic facilities being built. The EU is active in the fields of research, technology development and innovation, but it can do much more to contribute to the innovative sustainable development of the Central Asian economies.

The EU could further encourage the facilitated access to EU grant opportunities. Incentives for knowledge transfer from the EU to Central Asia will be a key enabler of the sustainable growth of Central Asian economies, promoting a new model based on technology intensive, research-driven digitalized industries.

The EU could introduce mobility schemes that would allow R&D personnel of companies and scholars from research organizations to engage in immersive dialogue and cooperation that would be mutually beneficial for Central Asian and EU organizations and individuals. Cross-proliferation of ideas and novel technologies and scientific breakthroughs will have impact regionally, Europe- and worldwide.

Central Asia, EU, China, innovation, R&D, infrastructure, cooperation