Image and Realities
Gregor Legeland, Kazakhstan and the European Union – Challenges and Prospects for a CloseCollaboration
115 Gregor Legeland, Kazakhstan and the European Union – Challenges and Prospects for a Close Collaboration This article highlights the current status of Kazakh-European relations in the light of present security issues in Greater Central Asia and Europe’s continuously growing energy security concerns. Additionally, special at- tention from the Kazakh perspective will be paid to the recent turbulent events in Kazakhstan and the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East from the Kazakh perspective. Moreover, core risks and prospects of the ambivalent relationship between both, Kazakhstan and the EU will be elaborated in the context of mutual security matters as well as in terms of political and economic cooperation. Introduction Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s economic powerhouse, is emerging as a player in the global arena. After 20 years of independence from the So- viet Union, president Nazarbaev still rules the country in an authoritarian manner. As a result of the richly gushing petrodollars, the overall eco- nomic performance of Kazakhstan over the last decade was extraordi- nary. With its seemingly inexhaustible natural resources, situated in the middle of the Eurasian landmass on the crossroads between Europe, Russia and China, the country provokes international attention. Indeed, it appears as if the Kazakh regime knows how to deal with this attractive situation in a self-confident manner. Due to a variety of reasons, one part of Kazakhstan’s outspoken multi- vector foreign policy is its “Path to Europe” component51. Europe is by far the biggest foreign investor in the country and its the major trade...
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