No. 13 Central Asia in 2030 - SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union

Gussarova, Anna GND (edt.); Andžāns, Māris GND (edt.)

It is likely that the current positive trends in political, societal and economic development will continue in all five Central Asian countries, though at a different pace. A decade from now, the Central Asian countries probably will be slightly better off and most of them will be economically more open, while freedoms and liberties will progress much slower. However, sudden and unexpected changes can also occur and change the course of development of one or more countries of the region.

Intra-regionally, Central Asia in 2030 will most likely be a more cooperative region, if the development of the region continues on the current path. Bilateral and multi-lateral relations could improve if new domestically and externally facilitated engagements develop. The enhanced cooperation, however, will most likely not amount to regional integration. Issues of tension among the region’s countries will remain, especially regarding water and borders.

In 2030, the EU will still be an important player in Central Asia. Economic engagement will remain a central driver for cooperation, having impact also on other sectors. At the same time, the EU’s comparative role in the region will decrease due to the growing economic and political influence of the People’s Republic of China and the persistent political, economic, military and cultural influence of Russia. Growing influence of both will predominantly shape the region. The role of other external powers, especially of India, Turkey, Iran, Arab countries is set to rise.

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