The European Union and Central Asia: Economic development and trade




European Union, Central Asia


This paper analyses EU-Central Asia trade and EU economic assistance to Central Asia. Some EU companies have had a high profile in individual countries or in energy projects (reflected in trade relations between parent and host country), but overall EU companies have lagged the higher profile of Russian companies and the increasing Chinese economic presence.  Central Asia had low priority in EU external economic policies towards Soviet successor states.  After 2007 the EU became more active in designing a Central Asia strategy, but funding has been limited and the impact small.  A significant development for EU-Central Asian economic relations has been the expansion of Eurasian rail services. This has a firm economic foundation and, if currently important routes are disrupted by events in Russia, alternatives will be found.  The paper concludes with discussion of prospects for EU-Central Asian relations with new presidents in Uzbekistan since 2016 and Kazakhstan since 2019.

Author Biography

Richard Pomfret, University of Adelaide, and The Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center.

Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Adelaide, and Adjunct Professor of International Economics, The Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center, Italy.


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