Do16Mei201912:00Het Pand, Zaal Vermeylen
China-Russia lecture café 3: Connecting Eurasia: Is Cooperation between the EU, China and Russia in Central Asia Possible?
Fabienne Bossuyt (UGent)
Given the ongoing tensions between the EU and Russia, only few experts will give serious thought to the prospect of trilateral cooperation on connectivity between the EU, China and Russia in Central Asia. Nevertheless, as China further embarks on implementing its Belt and Road Initiative, and remains firmly set on pursuing the ambitious goal of connecting China overland with Europe, the EU and Russia – as indispensable stakeholders for any Eurasian land bridge to successfully materialize – have been developing policy responses to China’s initiative that reveal an unexpected willingness to cooperate. In scrutinizing the likelihood of cooperation on connectivity between the EU, China and Russia in Central Asia, this lecture identifies the common interests between the three sides, and highlights to what extent cooperation between them is possible in Central Asia. In doing so, the lecture points to the main opportunities while outlining the main bottlenecks, which mostly stem from these actors’ diverging beliefs and approaches to connectivity and development.