The European Union in the Eurasian Space

Essay, 2006

9 Pages, Grade: 1,5 Germany, 4 Finland



1 Introduction

2 The Document

3 The Strategy

4 The Problem of the Strategy

5 Geopolitics of the European Union

6 The EU and USA in a comparing perspective

7 Conclusion

8 Bibliography

1 Introduction

The Asian continent becomes more and more important in world politics. In Asia the future markets are located; the labour force is compared to western economies cheap but in the same way well educated and qualified. But probably one of the most important aspects are resources. The energy resources of the future are located on the Eurasian Continent, especially in Central Asia, North Russia and Arab countries.

Asian states, in particular China and India will be under the most important global players. Their rapidly economic growth which leads probably in the same way to an increasing military power, makes them rather important which is underlined by India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

The Eurasian continent is full of challenges. First; Asian states are competitors on the world markets, but in the same way necessary exporting and investment partners for the west. Second; the Asian continent is a flash point of present and future conflicts which is caused by a huge lack of water resources, an extended diversity of ethnic groups and the competition of power and control over oil, gas and water resources and therefore the control over regions or countries in which the resources are located. Moreover several Asian states as India or Iran have nuclear capability which causes concerns and conflicts as the contemporary debates about Iran show.

The following paper analyzes the document “Europe and Asia: A strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships” of the Commission of the European Communities in 2001. This document is a strategy paper which gives an overview how the European Union wants to improve and strengthen its presence in different regions of Asia. First I will give a short overview about the document, its strategies and the problems in the realization of strategies. Further the essay contains an analyze about geopolitics. At last I will compare the EU and USA, relating to their politics in Asia.

2 The Document

The Document of the Commission of the European Communities of 2001 is the follow up paper of the 1994th Communication “Towards a New Asia Strategy”. The 2001 paper underlines that Asian countries are crucial economic and political partners for the European Union but in the same way it is a focus of conflicts, as underlined in the introduction. Further it shows that Europe and Asia are more and more faced by the same challenges of globalization as increasing competition, decreasing resources as well as environmental problems like pollution. Therefore, pointed out in the document, the EU has to strengthen its political and economic presence in all regions of Asia. Because of the enormous diversity of the Asian continent the paper does not give an overall strategy. It focuses on different regions- South Asia, South East Asia, North East Asia as well as Australasia- with different strategies for the future.[1]

3 The Strategy

The strategy concerning strengthened relations to Asian countries is dominated by economic, social, development and security and peace aspects, but not by geopolitical questions. Relating to this aims the paper stresses six issues on which the EU should work.

First the EU is interested to contribute to peace and security in the region and globally. According to the document this should happen especially in-between the framework of international cooperation and coordination for example through and in the UN.[2]

The second important field is the economy. The EU is very interested in strengthening the economic relations with Asia. Asian countries are important trade partners. Asia is the third biggest trading partner with 21 percent of total EU exports. Another reason is that in Asia the future markets are located and it reaches an increasing economic position. It is also mentioned that energy resources will play an important role in the economic sector. The EU supports therefore intensified mutual trade and investment flows.[3]

As the third point the paper stresses the importance of development and poverty reduction. Get rid of poverty means in the same way that environmental problems could be reduced. What is not mentioned in the document; reducing poverty is probably related to more stability and peace. The EU provides specifically humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Cambodia, India and South-East Asia; at all it is about 13 percent of the EU world wide humanitarian assistance. Which is not that much, compared to the fact that Asia has two third of the world poorest population.

Fourth the EU will contribute to a spreading democracy, good governance, the rule of law and respect of human rights.[4]

The fifth aspect is related to the construction of a global partnership and alliances with Asian countries in the framework of the UN, the WTO as well other governmental and non-governmental organizations. Besides the international organization the EU also plans to increase its role in the EU-ASEAN dialogue and in the ASEAN Regional Forum.

At last; it is necessary to increase the awareness in Asia which should be expressed by a better EU economic and political presence for example through a broader network of delegations, a broader partnership of the civil society and the cooperation in education and science.[5]

4 The Problem of the Strategy

The big problem concerning the EU influence in Eurasia: the EU lacks politically a common foreign and security policy and it doesn’t seem that it will emerge any time soon. The reason is simple: the EU does not qualify as a sovereign state; that will represent the common foreign and security policy. Almost everything which is behind the border of the Union is determined by the interests of every single member state, but not by a common interest of the European Union and its institutions. The interests of the EU member states are too diverse to focus them in one strategy, particularly since 9/11. This can be seen in the case of the Iraq war. There was and is no single foreign and security policy of the EU; Great Britain, Spain or Italia took part or partly still take part, but the governments of Germany and France were absolutely against an intervention in Iraq, because of lacks of evidences in the connection of 9/11 and the Iraq regime. This caused and causes disputes within the EU as well as with the USA.

In the economic perspective it is easier, because a lot of these politics are unified, under European law.

How unimportant the EU as a uniform actor is, is shown by documents of the CIA. They point out how the great-power rivals will handle the situation in Asia and its problems. The great powers are: USA, Russia, India, China and Japan. In most of the regions the CIA papers don’t even mention the EU.[6]

5 Geopolitics of the European Union

In the Commission’s document there are nearly no geopolitical clues, besides the fact that it is recognized that Asia is, because of its size, the high population, its resources and its conflicts among nations and superpowers a focal point.[7] But despite, I want to enter into some aspects of EU geopolitics concerning Eurasia.

In the geopolitical perspective the EU politics seem only to be concentrated on the enlargement of the Union. With the EU membership of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and other east European countries, states got involved which constituted the dividing line between east and west. The enlargement to the east can be a possibility to bring democratic values and stability of the west further into the Eurasian continent. And for the USA an EU enlargement to the east is much more likely than any Russian influence on eastern countries. For example the orientation of the Ukraine to the west is rather likely than an orientation to Russia. A membership of Russia is probably not to be expected – it is too big, too corrupt, to diverse, full of conflicts and it has a weak economy and at last it has too individual interests. Probably the most important enlargement is the case of Turkey. With Turkey as a member, the EU will become a Middle East power - the borders of the EU would be extended to Syria, Iraq, and Iran but also to the Caspian Sea. In the perspective of the USA, a membership of Turkey has some relevant geopolitical aspects. First; Turkey is needed for transit routes of oil and gas. Second; with a membership more democratic and secular influence would reach the east. Third; Turkey is one of the most important NATO allies for the USA, because it is geographical position and the fight against terrorism.


[1] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.3-28.

[2] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.15-16.

[3] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.16-17.

[4] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.17-18.

[5] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.18-20.

[6] NIC (2000), [WWW document].

[7] Commission of the European Communities (2001), pp.5-14.

Excerpt out of 9 pages


The European Union in the Eurasian Space
University of Tampere
1,5 Germany, 4 Finland
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
373 KB
European, Union, Eurasian, Space
Quote paper
Sarah Stolle (Author), 2006, The European Union in the Eurasian Space, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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