EU Policy in Central Asia

An Externally Constructed Regionalism


  • Kamen Velichkov Eurasian National University, Kazakhstan



EU, foreign policy, regionalism, Central Asia, regional approaches


Geography and a preference for regional approaches have an impact on EU foreign policy. From the EU perspective, the countries of Central Asia are classified as “neighbors of EU neighbors.” The EU’s policies assume the existence of strong centripetal forces in the Eurasian heartland, whereas in fact the regionalization is still in the initial stages there. Consequently, EU foreign policy in Central Asia pursues both structural and relational objectives. The specific goals and performance of EU member states add a two-tier dimension to this process. In parallel with other external actors such as Japan, the United States, South Korea, and India, the European Union conducts its dialogue and cooperation with the Central Asian states in a 5+1 format. Compared to the policies of China, Turkey, or Russia, the EU has much more limited influence. It primarily aims to support the independent development of the Central Asian countries, for which some degree of regionalization appears to be a prerequisite.


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Author Biography

Kamen Velichkov, Eurasian National University, Kazakhstan

Is a Senior Program Manager and Diplomatic Advisor with the International Science and Technology Center (Nur-Sultan), where he oversees EU projects on non-proliferation implemented in Central Asia and Africa. Currently, he also lectures on EU institutions and foreign policy at the Eurasian National University (Kazakhstan). Previously, he delivered university courses at the College of Europe (Belgium), the Sofia University and the New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria), the Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan). He served in various diplomatic capacities, including as Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of Bulgaria, Chargé d’Affaires of the Bulgarian Embassy in Israel, Ambassador of Bulgaria to the Netherlands, Ambassador to Thailand, Head of Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan. He also served as ambassador-at-large for Central Asia during Bulgaria’s OSCE Chairmanship. K. Velichkov holds a BA and MA in international relations from MGIMO University (Moscow), a master’s degree in civil-military relations from the National Military Academy (Sofia), and a PhD in public management from UNIBIT University (Sofia).


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How to Cite

Velichkov, Kamen. 2021. “EU Policy in Central Asia: An Externally Constructed Regionalism”. Politeja 18 (4(73):29-52.