/ Central Asia: Who will win the Future?

Positive changes have been continuing in the Central Asian region. As the region opens up, its attraction increases. Central Asia is strategically important in terms of the Caspian energy resources, as well as a key to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Indeed, the geopolitics is shaping the region – it is confirmed by the year 2019 as well. The posture of China has been increasing, and Russia also kept strengthening its position of an “elder brother”. At the same time, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are serious players themselves. Also, their leaders are seeking for balance in cooperating with South Korea, Japan, the United States, and Europe.  

As the region keeps opening up, the European Union has not been sitting back. In 2019, a new EU strategy for Central Asia was adopted. The EU has been active in increasing visibility in the region and developing high-level political contacts. An EU delegation in Turkmenistan, the last country in the region without a comprehensive EU presence, was opened in summer. In fact, the EU can do sufficiently much, if it wants to.

At the same time, the EU is a relatively small player in Central Asia. Is not the EU at risk of disappearing among the heavyweights in the region? In many ways, this depends on the will of the EU itself and its ability to be a geopolitically important player. EU High Representative for the CFSP, J. Borrell, reminds that “the EU has the tools to participate in power games [..]. The EU has strong trade, diplomatic, and military capabilities. The EU must learn to use partnerships.”[i]

Latvia has continued to develop its relations with Central Asian countries through the EU format, as well as bilaterally. The region retains its place as a Latvian foreign policy niche with a limited number of involved policy makers and experts. The dynamics of the relations also depends on economic drivers. If Latvian entrepreneurs will see a growing potential in the region, foreign policy action will follow.[ii]In the European Union level, Latvia is perceived as the Central Asian expert, also thanks to practically leading the important EU projects in Central Asia. As other EU countries become more active in the region, Latvia should be more pro-active in securing its position, thus confirming that Central Asia truly gains strength along with Eastern Partnership as one of the “Latvianforeign policy priorities.”[iii]

Dynamic Changes in the Central Asian Region

Against the background of global events, Central Asia may seem to be the region of peace and stability. The reality may happen to be more complex there. Internal reforms, the Afghan factor and the growing influence of China – all these factors can cause tensions. In this context, it is important to identify the interactions between the internal and external environment, especially the regional dynamics of Sino-Russian relations.

Internal processes of the region

Internal development of the region has been generally positive, especially in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Development in the region is determined by national political systems and leaders thereof. Uzbekistan is a vivid example of this. The liberal reforms initiated by President Sh. Mirziyoyev is ongoing. The national currency is fully convertible, a visa-free regime has been introduced with a number of countries, including Latvia, and investment in tourism is increasing. The progress is fragile though. There is no doubt that reforming the country is a huge challenge. Breaking the old system is a difficult task.

Kazakhstan also saw a historic transition of power in 2019. In March, President N. Nazarbayev resigned after nearly 30 years in office, by appointing Speaker of the Senate K. Tokayev as the President. He was later formally elected as well. President Nazarbayev, however, seems to have just stepped aside, since he maintains power levers as a leader of the nation and the head of the Security Council. The transition of power has been relatively stable, nevertheless, it shed light on processes that reflect the desire of the society for changes in the country. President K. Tokayev emphasizes the continuity of the previous political course but also talks about reforms. However, the reforms seem to be more cautious than in Uzbekistan. Also, in October, laws limiting the powers of the President, accepted by the President himself, were passed. It raises the question on the extent the transition of power.

In Kyrgyzstan, the situation was tense in 2019, however, a pro-European President, S. Jeenbekov, has managed to withstand tensions with the former head of state. The situation in Tajikistan has not changed much, and Turkmenistan has continued going its own way.

In the regional cooperation among the five Central Asian countries, there have been positive dynamics. Old disagreements are replaced by an unprecedented level of contacts, the opening of borders and the restoration of direct transport links. To a great extent the regional cooperation depends on Uzbekistan, – and it is currently open to its neighbours. President Sh. Mirziyoyev admits that “for the first time, the atmosphere in the region is so friendly”. [iv] Indeed, regional cooperation is in the hands of the national leaders. On a positive note and with wide publicity the second Consultative Summit of Presidents of Central Asian states was held in Tashkent in November. Such topical regional issues as cross-border trade, investment, transport infrastructure, energy, water resources, and tourism were on the Presidents’ agenda.

The most active co-operation can be observed in tourism, including the idea of developing a common Central Asian “silk visas”. Another potential area is trade, but it could be more difficult to avoid tensions in water supplies and border issues. At the same time, there have been notable goodwill steps. In September, when Tajikistan launched a second generating unit at Roghun Hydropower Plant, reducing the water supply to Uzbekistan, Tashkent remained silent. In July, the Presidents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan met on the borders to ease the tensions on the border issues. Pop culture could also play a positive role in strengthening the identity of the region. Since September, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan have been broadcasting a joint new TV show “Central Asia Has Talents” every Sunday.

Furthermore, there have been positive developments in Central Asian relations with Afghanistan, increasingly seeing their neighbour as an economic opportunity, instead of a security threat. The shortest route from Uzbekistan to the ports of Iran and Pakistan leads through Afghanistan. There is also the idea of connecting Afghanistan to Central Asian power grids. Also, the UN-led “Ashgabat Initiative” that aims to remove trade barriers in the region, is geographically focusing not only on Central Asia and Azerbaijan, but also on Afghanistan.

Overall, this is a good moment for regional cooperation; however, fragility and obstacles remain. The paternalism of political systems may be the main one.[v]Leaders of Central Asian countries tend to avoid creating a regional cooperation structure that seems to be filled with formats driven by other players.

External factors

China and Russia are at the forefront both in terms of investment and in terms of competition for access to Central Asia’s natural wealth. Western presence in the region remains, but the influence of the west continues to diminish.

China is involved in all sectors of the region – oil and gas extraction, telecommunications, cotton processing. Integration is continuing as part of China’s Belt and RoadInitiative. Central Asia is looking for China’s investment, but at the same time is worried about its investment models and “debt trap” diplomacy. There have been both corruption scandals surrounding Chinese projects in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, as well as society’s protests over what the people believe to be an inadequate economic influence of China.

While Central Asia is looking for Chinese investment, it is increasingly active in the security sector of the region. China also justifies the fight against terrorism with the need to stabilize the region inhabited by Muslim Uighurs, who haveKazakh and Kyrgyz roots, in Xinjiang province. Both the joint military exercises and the ‘watchful eye’ projects of China in Central Asian countries mark a new trend.

Meanwhile, Russia is also strengthening its influence in the economic and security areas. It put efforts in persuading Uzbekistan to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). There is no consensus in Tashkent, however President Sh. Mirziyoyev admitted that the EAEU is Uzbekistan’s biggest market. In the energy sector, Rosatom is planning the construction of nuclear reactors in Uzbekistan. Gazprom is also pursuing an active strategy, and, after the construction of Russia’s new gas pipeline to Europe, even more, Central Asian gas could flow to Russia.[vi]

Beijing and Moscow are looking for ways not to challenge each other in the region. In summer, Russia joined Chinese and Central Asian military training in the region. Moscow also urges Beijing to coordinate its Belt and Road initiative with its Eurasian Economic Union. Both are involved in regional formats, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. And in November, at the “Valday Club” conference held in Uzbekistan, the visitors made it clear that China and Russia, as key players in Central Asia, were not at odds.

The U.S. has also been rather active in the Central Asian region, given its growing role vis-à-visChina. The possible new U.S. strategy for Central Asia could be similar to the new strategy of the EU. In November, the U.S. signed a memorandum in Kazakhstan on the creation of a Central Asia Regional Electricity Market. The U.S. presence in security is also growing, especially in Uzbekistan. It is watching Uzbekistan’s economic choices, urging it to reconsider its membership in the EAEU, suggesting that it may complicate its accession to the WTO.[vii]

The ties of the region with Turkey have become warmer, highlighting the ethnic link between Turkic peoples. In October, Uzbekistan joined the Turkish Council. Japan, South Korea, and others are also important partners for Central Asian countries in terms of trade and investment.

Overall, Central Asian countries have continued their previous multi-vector foreign policies, although the room for maneuver may be narrowing.

European Union in Central Asia

What is the role of the European Union in this geopolitical environment of Central Asia? EU Special Representative for Central Asia, P. Burian, makes sure: “There is enough space for cooperation in the region, no one is forcing anyone out.”[viii] The region is important for the European Union not because there is a crisis but because the developments there are positive.

The European Union has a small but important role in Central Asia. The EU is a neutral player that allows the Central Asian countries to balance and to create a multi-vector foreign policy.

Given the positive development in the region, the EU has been actively engaged, including by developing high-level political contacts, which are important in the countries of the region. In 2019, the President of the European Council, D. Tusk, and other high-level EU officials have visited the region. P. Burian, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, has continued to make an invaluable contribution. Examples include the EU-Central Asia Summit in Bishkek and the EU-Central Asia Business Forum.

The new EU strategy for Central Asia

The most important event of 2019 is, beyond any doubt, the new EU strategy for Central Asia adopted in June. It comes at the right moment when Eurasian connectivity is growing rapidly and Central Asian countries are becoming more open. Latvia is also “a noticeable member among the players involved in the development of the EU–Central Asia strategy in formulating and defending its national interests, and those of the EU, in the region,”[ix] the Foreign Policy Report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasizes.

It must be admitted that the new EU strategy for Central Asia is not radically new. A closer look reveals that this is the same wish list of the old EU strategy for Central Asia, based on the European Commission’s proposal. At the same time, the new strategy is structuring the wide range of existing priorities, and, hopefully, its implementation could be more effective.

There has been criticism that such an ambitious strategy requires a hurricane-worth effort to be implemented and that the EU lacks the influence to be a serious player in the region. The new strategy is also referred to as an “unfinished strategy” – its implementation may be lagging behind, also due to EU bureaucracy.[x] At the same time, there are a number of reasons why the new strategy is important.

First of all, it is a political signal of the EU to the Central Asian countries on their importance among its cooperation partners. It reflects the efforts of the EU to build non-exclusive partnerships, to work together rather than across Central Asian countries as it was developed in cooperation with the Central Asian partners.

Secondly, the strategy is the political framework for the next EU multiannual budget for 2021-2027. So far, the EU has invested more than EUR 1 billion in Central Asia, and it is important to maintain at least the same level in the future. The EU remains the largest donor and source of private investment in Central Asia to date. EU funding, together with other EU instruments, including long-term loans, exceeds EUR 2 billion. The EU needs to decide on the next budget in 2020, and the voice of Latvia will also be important for the support of Central Asia.

Third, the new strategy is a response to China’s Belt and Road initiative, highlighting connectivity — transport, energy, and digitalisation as a priority. China has laid the foundations to open up Central Asian countries, but it cannot achieve connectivity with Europe alone. The EU promotes economically, fiscally sustainable and rules-based connectivity. Importantly, this EU approach seems to be supported by the Central Asian countries.

The success of the implementation of the new EU strategy depends on EU’s political support and adequate financing. Also, it is important that the new leadership of the European Commission and the EEAS feel responsible for the continuation of the process. Here, the Latvian experts in the EU institutions have made a valuable contribution in advancing the EU agenda in Central Asia.

The new EU strategy also emphasizes economic links. Central Asia currently accounts for only a small proportion of EU trade volume. In fact, the actual EU-Central Asia trade is stagnating.[xi] While the EU is an important partner for Central Asia, its exports to the EU consist mainly of raw materials: oil, gas, and gold. The countries of the region want to diversify their trade with the EU: for instance, fruit and vegetables from Central Asia could reach the EU market.

To better exploit the trade potential, the EU support should be focused on helping meet compliance with EU standards and improving the business environment in the region. The EU side highlights the importance of the favourable business environment, namely, “money is not a problem because banks want to spend money, but the business environment is important to ensure that EU private investors feel welcome in the markets of Central Asia.”[xii]

EU bilateral agreements of the new generation are also expected to facilitate trade between the EU and the Central Asian region. These EU Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with the countries of the region can be equalised to a WTO + agreement. They are expected to promote investment, trade, and cooperation in the sectors of energy, transport, and the environment. The ratification of this new generation EU-Kazakhstan agreement by the EU side was completed in November, almost completing the formalities required for its entry into force. In 2019, the EU also concluded negotiations on such an enhanced partnership agreement with Kyrgyzstan and continued negotiations with Uzbekistan. Tajikistan is also known to be interested in concluding such an agreement.

How has Latvia been involved in the shaping and implementation of the EU–Central Asia agenda? Overall, Latvia has been active both in formulating the EU common position, as well as in the practical contribution in strengthening of the EU’s involvement in the region. Thus, Latvia not only presents itself as a small country that takes care of its own security, but also raises its international prestige and visibility.

Most importantly, the Latvian Border Guard has continued to lead the main EU programme in Central Asia – BOMCA, strengthening border management and facilitating customs procedures. Latvia’s leading role in the BOMCA has been appreciated by the EU and Central Asian partners. The positive news is that Latvia will continue to lead this EU programme, which will expanded financially and geographically, covering also Afghanistan.

In the area of education, the EU has been irreplaceable in Central Asia. The Latvian Ministry of Education has had an important role, together with Poland chairing the EU-Central Asia Education Platform for four years. Latvia’s focus has been vocational education. In 2019, this EU platform has been concluded. Given the high priority of education in the new EU strategy, it would be essential that Latvian experts continue to play their active role in this area.  

The contributions of the experts of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs is also worth noting. Latvia is one of the leading countries in the EU SEnECA platform, where the EU and Central Asian researchers jointly evaluate the priorities of cooperation. Since the launch of the SEnECA platform in Riga in 2018, experts of both sides have significantly brought closer their understanding of common priorities: education, connectivity, security, climate, environment, and agriculture. The jointly developed EU-Central Asia 2030scenario holds valuable recommendations for the work of policy makers. It would be important for the EU to continue to support SEnECA network.

At a time when the interest of the EU Member States in Central Asia is significantly growing, Latvia should continue the existing initiatives and also seek additional opportunities. If earlier they were only Germany, France, Italy, Latvia, and Poland, now almost all the Member States are active participants of the EU discussion. Hungary, Austria, Romania, and Bulgaria are considering connectivity and energy supplies across the Caspian Sea, and Estonia and Lithuania have also boosted their activity in Latvia’s “niche” areas.[xiii]

To sum up, Latvia must continue its work in supporting the EU agenda in Central Asia. In this context, the Annual Report of Minister of Foreign Affairs promises, that “Latvia will continue to play an active role in shaping the common EU policy, formulating and defending its own interests and those of the EU in the region”.[xiv]

 Bilateral Latvian Central Asian relations

Latvia’s foreign policy faces many challenges, therefore it cannot be expected that Central Asia will be at the top of the list. The region retains its place as a niche area. Also, economic interests in Latvia influence its bilateral relations with the countries of Central Asia.

At the level of rhetoric in Central Asia, there are no changes. The Latvian officials in their public statements appreciated the positive development in the region and express their readiness to share Latvia’s experience of reforms. The transit sector was particularly emphasized.

For example, Foreign Minister E. Rinkēvičs in April, during the meeting with the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan stressed that Latvia sees Kazakhstan as a strategic partner in the sector of trans-Eurasian transportation. J. Mažeiks, the Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the EU conference on Central Asia connectivity in April also highlighted the importance of the region for European-Asian connectivity and Latvia’s involvement in the development of trans-Eurasian transport and logistics corridors.[xv] I. Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima, during the visit of the Speaker of Kyrgyz Parliament D. Dzhumabekov to Latvia, expressed Latvia’s readiness to share experience in strengthening parliamentary democracy and Minister E. Rinkēvičs, emphasized co-operation in the transport and logistics sector.

In the context of the decline in transport and transit through Latvia, Minister of Transport T. Linkaits also said that in the light of the decrease of Russian cargoes through Latvia, all partners, including Kazakhstan, are important for the country. Given that one of China’s six Belt and Road transit corridors is directed through Kazakhstan and Belarus directly to Europe, the question is if Latvia will be located in this corridor.

The good news is the opening of the full-fledged Embassy of Kazakhstan in Latvia at the end of 2019. Hopefully, it will intensify economic cooperation in the future. Kazakhstan plays an important role in the transport, transit, and logistics sectors of Latvia, as well as in air transport. In 2019, the Latvian national airlineairBaltic launched a regular route Riga-Almaty. Latvia also has plans for tourism development in relation to air passenger transport.

Apart from the transport and transit areas, the business interests of Latvia in Central Asia involve certain niche areas of trade – for instance, pharmaceutical products (approximately 50%) have been a significant export product of Latvia. Admittedly, Latvian trade volumes with the region are low – less than 1% of Latvia’s goods and services turnover, with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan dominating the trade. Trade has fallen slightly in recent years, at the same time, the interest of Latvian entrepreneurs in the region has remained rather high.[xvi]

The export of education has continued to be an important cooperation sector for Latvia in Central Asia. Several thousands of students from the region are studying at Latvian universities. It is worth mentioning that in October, Riga Technical University opened an education and information centre in Tashkent, offering preparatory training for Uzbek students planning to study in Europe and Latvia. This year the first forty students started their training there.

The interest of Latvian entrepreneurs has followed the positive developments in Uzbekistan. The representative office of the Cleantech Latvia technology cluster in Uzbekistan has expanded its activities, and its office of the cluster in Kazakhstan has been established. Latvian entrepreneurs are also active in fish product processing, as well as transport, and a logistics centre is being established in Tashkent.

At the same time, businesses still face risks in the Central Asian market, and 2019 was not an exception. The Latvian Government has provided support to them in dealing with specific problems in the region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlights that “economic cooperation with Central Asian countries could be facilitated by the modernization of their national and economic governance systems and a favourable business environment”.[xvii]

Latvian Government also addreses the interests of its businesses at bilateral Intergovernmental Commissions (IGCs). The IGC with Uzbekistan was held in Riga in 2017 and with Kazakhstan – in 2018 in Riga. The regular IGCs with the involvement of businessmen are very useful.

Development cooperation

An important part of Latvia’s relations with Central Asian countries is development cooperation, thus supporting reforms in the region. In 2019, Latvia continued sharing its expertise in providing assistance to the justice and internal affairs systems, the strengthening of public administration capacity (corruption prevention), the agricultural sector, the development of e-governance, and the empowerment of women. Riga Graduate School of Law has continued its training curriculum for young Central Asian leaders in 2019 as well. A new positive trend is that the Central Asian countries themselves started to actively approach Latvia for asking its expertise in various reform areas.

Overall, these Latvian development cooperation projects in Central Asia are also of benefit for the entrepreneurs as they aim at the improvement of the business environment. Also, the Latvian projects have been appreciated by Central Asian partners, confirming that the Latvian funding for the development cooperation is being used efficiently. Thus, Latvia should  continue this work, as well as think about new opportunities.

Conclusions and recommendations

The question if the positive developments in Central Asia will gain momentum depends on many factors. To what extent the President of Uzbekistan, Sh. Mirziyoyev, will be able to live up to the expectations of the society? How the transition of power in Kazakhstan will evolve? It is likely that the region will continue opening up and that gradual, although limited, reforms will continue, however,  given the multiple challenges, the “facade change” is a risk.

As regards external factors, China and Russia with their border with Central Asia will always consider the region to be of strategic importance. Their pressure will only increase.[xviii] Integration of the region will continue under China’s Belt and RoadInitiative, Russia will continue to exert pressure in the energy sector of the region, and both will continue to engage in the economic and security areas. External challenges will not diminish.

As the influence of the major powers increases, the relative weight of the EU in the region may decline.[xix] Under the influence of Russian propaganda, the image of the EU in the region remains rather negative. It is also difficult to predict whether and how the EU will be able to balance its ambition of connectivity with China with its own set of standards, as well as the concerns of the EU about potential security risks in its cooperation with China.

As regards Latvia’s bilateral relations with the Central Asian countries, economic interests — including transit and transport as well as trade in specific niche areas — are likely to continue. In the context of Latvia’s international engagements, including the United Nations, a more active involvement in development cooperation in the region can be expected. Decisive action by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be of crucial importance here.


It is important that the new EU strategy for Central Asia is implemented into practice. Being aware of the need to implement the strategy under difficult geopolitical contexts, the EU should make greater use of “soft power tools” while acting as a geopolitical player.

It is essential that the new leadership of the EU institutions retains responsibility for the continuation of the process. In this context it could be important also if the Latvian experts maintain their positions in the EU institutions that are involved in Central Asian policy-making.

Latvia should continue its practical contribution in the existing successful EU initiatives,  programmes and projects in security, border management, education and environment thus strengthening its Central Asian expert niche in these areas.

Latvia should continue to seek its place in the European and Asian connectivity by using its excellent experience in Central Asia from the NATO Northern Distribution Network. Latvia should support the introduction of the EU twinning instruments in Central Asia.

Latvia should strengthen its development cooperation implementation mechanism to be able to take part in implementing the EU and international projects in Central Asia.

Latvia should continue to support Kazakhstan’s dialogue with the OECD and the transfer of best practices, as well as Uzbekistan’s accession to the WTO.

The political dialogue of Latvia with Central Asia in international organizations, including the support of nominations for UN positions, will be of increasing importance.

© Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvian Foreign and Security Policy Yearbook 2020


[i] European Parliament., “Hearing of Josep Borell Fontelles, High Representative/Vice President-designate of the European Commission,”07.10.2019,https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/hearing-of-josep-borrell-fontelles-high-representative-vice-president-designate-of-the-european-commission-opening-statement_I178140-V_v

[ii] SENeCA policy paper Nr 13., “Central Asia in 2030:SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union,” 05.2019,https://www.seneca-eu.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/SEnECA_Policy_Paper_13_2019.pdf

[iii] Potjomkina, D., “Foreign Policy of Latvia,” National Encyclopaedia, 10.2019, https://enciklopedija.lv/skirklis/20980-Latvijas-%C4%81rpolitika

[iv] Barabanov, O.,“Russia and Uzbekistan: Prospects for Cooperation,” Valdai Discussion Club, 09.11.2019, http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/russia-uzbekistan-cooperation/

[v] SENeCA policy paper Nr 13., “Central Asia in 2030:SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union,” 05.2019,https://www.seneca-eu.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/SEnECA_Policy_Paper_13_2019.pdf

[vi] Garibov, A, “Russia Moves to Strengthen its Profile in Central Asian Gas Politics, Threatens Trans-Caspian,” 24.10.2019, http://cacianalyst.org/publications/analytical-articles/item/13592-russia-moves-to-strengthen-its-profile-in-central-asian-gas-politics-threatens-trans-caspian.html

[vii]Hashimova,U., “US and Russia Watching Closely Uzbekistan’s Economic Choices,”12.11.2019, https://thediplomat.com/2019/11/us-and-russia-watching-closely-uzbekistans-economic-choices/

[viii] Gotev, G., “‘Almost Impossible’ to rival China’s business clout in Central Asia,” Euractiv.com, 11.10.2019, https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/news/almost-impossible-to-rival-chinas-business-clout-in-central-asia/

[ix] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia., “The Annual Report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Progress and Planned Activities in the Area of National Foreign Policy and European Union Issues in 2018,” 27.12.2019, https://www.mfa.gov.lv/aktualitates/zinas/62224-arlietu-ministra-ikgadejais-zinojums-par-paveikto-un-iecereto-darbibu-valsts-arpolitika-un-eiropas-savienibas-jautajumos-2018-gada

[x] Laumulin, M., “The EU’s Incomplete Strategy for Central Asia,”3.12.2019, https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/80470

[xi] European Parliament., “The EU’s new Central Asia strategy,” 01.2019, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/633162/EPRS_BRI(2019)633162_EN.pdf

[xii] Gotev, G., “‘Almost Impossible’ to rival China’s business clout in Central Asia,” Euractiv.com, 11.10.2019, https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/news/almost-impossible-to-rival-chinas-business-clout-in-central-asia/

[xiii] Anonymous interview with an expert of EU institution, 12.10.2019

[xiv] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia., “The Annual Report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Progress and Planned Activities in the Area of National Foreign Policy and European Union Issues in 2018,” 27.12.2019, https://www.mfa.gov.lv/aktualitates/zinas/62224-arlietu-ministra-ikgadejais-zinojums-par-paveikto-un-iecereto-darbibu-valsts-arpolitika-un-eiropas-savienibas-jautajumos-2018-gada

[xv] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia., “Political Director emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation in Central Asia development,” 15.04.2019, https://www.mfa.gov.lv/aktualitates/zinas/63170-politiskais-direktors-uzsver-regionalas-sadarbibas-nozimi-centralazijas-attistiba

[xvi] Anonymous interview with a representative of the Government of Latvia, 29.11.2019

[xvii] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia., “Political Director emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation in Central Asia development,” 15.04.2019, https://www.mfa.gov.lv/aktualitates/zinas/63170-politiskais-direktors-uzsver-regionalas-sadarbibas-nozimi-centralazijas-attistiba

[xviii] SENeCA policy paper Nr 13., “Central Asia in 2030: SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union,” 05.2019,https://www.seneca-eu.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/SEnECA_Policy_Paper_13_2019.pdf

[xix] Ibid.


Gunta PastoreAmbassador of Latvia to the Czech Republic