Considering Outside the EU-CA Box? The Potential customers of a C5+Greece Cooperation

Considering Outside the EU-CA Box? The Potential customers of a C5+Greece Cooperation

Central Asia has normally been in the fringe of the EU community and, for the reason that of that, had a lot of significance for its foreign plan. Nonetheless, the crises and the geopolitical change toward a multipolar earth have resulted in intensification of the foregoing relations. The EU-Central Asia format has certainly contributed in the direction of that purpose, nevertheless there are sectors of that plan that can be ameliorated, specifically with regards to crucial sectors this kind of as electrical power, uncooked components and diplomacy. 1 way to assist make development in these segments is as a result of harnessing the strategic locale and importance of smaller sized-states as a result of a C5+one structure, primarily the kinds in the European borders. This report offers the prospective clients that crop up if this structure is utilized for the Greece-Central Asia relations, demonstrating what can be attained from both equally sides and also presenting subjects that can be mentioned and jobs that can be pursued underneath the auspices of that format.

The EU-Central Asia relations

The EU-Central Asia relations have generally been an concern of main importance for both get-togethers and this does not occur with out a motive. The European regional bloc accounts for far more than 23% of the overseas trade throughout all Central Asian nations, having said that it is the the latest alterations in trade figures that have sparked an even higher desire from Brussels. Just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, starting off from 2022, import figures from Central Asia to Europe delineated a surge of sixty seven%, although, correspondingly, exports towards the 5 Central Asian states grew by 77%. Hunting at the broader photo, the solution from Brussels toward Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan can be considered as successful. Having said that, heading into sector-certain information, details for enhancement can be identified. One particular of the sectors that poses as the most significant agony stage for European marketplaces at the second is vitality. The crisis that spurred following the war on Ukraine has produced a huge hole in offer that has been extremely difficult for the EU to fill in. Nations these types of as Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan have the probable to fill in this hole, but there has been lack of cross-regional coordination to bridge this hole. This exhibits that, in spite of its successes, the existing EU-Central Asia dialogue format would have to have either enhancements or a complementary variety of diplomacy and format to aid development.

The prospective clients of a C5+1 structure in Europe

A single of the formats that have been productive the earlier many years has been the C5+1 structure, which was initiated by the Usa and provided a system for dialogue on regional cooperation with trade partners that are searching to raise their volumes and increase their collaboration. It has been regarded as a prosperous initiative suggested to any state actor that seeks to acquire a  modicum of strategic initiative in the area. Using this into account, this format was adopted by EU member states such as Italy, by the Italy-Central Asia Conference, depicting that is is a apply that can be shared with no jeopardizing the over-all EU method in the Eurasian area. One more challenge that exists with the EU-CAM framework is the point that the involvement of Jap European nations do not have a absolutely lively function in the cross-regional engagement. Europe’s jap flank is the component that shares the most significant historic, cultural and societal values and could have a good deal to add to the dialogue. On the lookout from an energy point of view, a single state actor can be distinguished and that condition actor is found in the South-East. Greece has very long been serving as a transit hub from Asia to the European Union for all sorts of goods, but also for intangible kinds this kind of as cultures and languages. It would, for this reason, be extremely vital to map the relations of the country with the 5 Central Asian states, its evolution over the a long time and potential clients of how a C5+one dialogue with Athens would glance like.

Greece as a hub and its relations with Central Asia

In excess of the previous 10 years, Greece has been creating options to acquire advantage of its exceptional geostrategic place amongst the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa. The improvement of pipeline infrastructure in Northern Greece (Tap Pipeline), as well as the new developments on LNG Terminals in Revithoussa, Alexandroupoli and probably in Thessaloniki and Crete, are transforming the nation into an vitality hub for the EU, but also globally. At the same time, foreign direct expenditure to information facilities and transportation routes in producing an infrastructure capable of changing the nation into a liaison each for products but also digital data. This has not long gone unnoticed by Central Asian states, whose landlocked standing alerts that it would be handy to discover diversified sea routes and other ways to access supply-hungry markets these as Europe and North The usa. More specifically, trade volumes have steadily enhanced with all countries in the area. Trade with Kazakhstan showed a fluctuating pattern from 2015 to 2020 alongside the traces of $one.four billion, although afterwards it saw a increase to $1.6 billion. Similarly, trade with Uzbekistan, beginning from 2020, rose from $4million to $50million in 2022, depicting a surge of 250%. Similarly, trade with Turkmenistan has doubled on the exact interval, reaching $twenty five.5 million in 2021. Overall trade with Kyrgyzstan present a small maximize from five to $7million, whereas Tajikistan adopted a related pattern.

Searching at the major trading volumes, quite a few patterns can be located. The very first is that petroleum goods, mineral goods and chemical compounds comprise the biggest component of the trade volumes, which also take place to be the merchandise that represent the backbone of the major Central Asian economies, particularly Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but also the rising vitality large, Turkmenistan. Reflecting on the volumes, they increase at a much higher rate than individuals of the EU regular, exhibiting that the Southeast Europe region is getting a spot of strategic worth for Central Asian nations to distribute their goods and diversify their earnings streams, as all five states are looking to open up to as lots of markets as probable, one thing that is also apparent from the want to join the WTO the two from Uzbekistan, but also from Turkmenistan. Another rationale that would make it clear is the truth that the Turkmen electrical power sector has been looking to expand its portfolio of gas consumers, by participating in fora and bilateral discussions in the Gulf, in Iraq, but also in Turkiye. It need to be mentioned that the Alexandroupolis and Revithoussa terminals previously have arrived at a ability of additional than 375,000 cbm, the proposed Thessaloniki one has a ability of 70,000 cbm.

Reflecting on the aforementioned, it can be comprehended that they are substantially decreased than large EU member states. However, reflecting on the previous standing of the Greece-Central Asia relations, it is evident that they are getting to be a topic of uttermost relevance for both functions and that, with the development of the appropriate conversation dialogue and initiatives, there are prospects for both parties to pursue their interests and attain even further financial growth. It is critical, however, to target on the potent details of just about every partnership and include them in a dialogue structure that can enable attain the optimal result.

Why a C5+Greece makes sense

As pointed out, the C5+one structure has the gain of boosting regional cooperation, which, in related situations this sort of as Southeast Asia, has proven to enable create industrial policy and uncover new markets. So much, this structure has been made use of for the relations with the United states of america, which has the draw back that it could possibly induce a conflict of passions with Russia as, in many sectors, opposition among these two nations is a zero-sum sport. This is not predicted to be the circumstance with Greece, which is not in direct competitors with Russia, that’s why this threat can be viewed as as neutralized and there is an even larger prospect for this cooperation to be a gain-gain activity for all participating parties.

How the structure would search like — Sectors for Cooperation


It can be comprehended that the initial point of discussion in these types of a format amongst the aforementioned parties should be vitality. In this framework, the Trans-Caspian pipeline ought to be a important precedence. Construction of the pipeline will significantly maximize the exporting capacity of all 5 nations for fuel to Greece, by Turkiye. From there, Central Asian fuel are not able to only be dispersed in the EU, but also, as a result of LNG terminals in the nation, to other regions that have raising require for gasoline. In the potential, this may include quite a few African nations, which clearly show main economic progress quantities, but not all of them possess the natural means to ability this development. In addition, this is a subject that will advantage Athens. By placing the Trans-Caspian pipeline on the EU agenda, issues with regards to the taxonomy of investment in fuel jobs are, in a way, settled. This can assist the Southeast European place force subject areas this sort of as the EastMed pipeline on the agenda. Offered the point that the Trans-Caspian will also be a make a difference that fears Turkiye as very well, place for dialogue in between Ankara and Athens will emerge anew, which was also one particular of the significant challenges that inhibited the venture in the Jap Mediterranean. A downside of this challenge at the minute is the escalation of conflicts in Gaza that makes any development from the level of collaboration with Israel all but impossible, nonetheless this platform can have advantageous outcomes in this front as nicely. Central Asian states, as properly as countries in South Caucasus, usually functioned as mediating actors involving Palestine and Israel, and the similar can be said for Greece. Total, this tactic is extremely possible to generate an maximize in vitality flows in Europe and further than, boosting electricity stability and also providing a new lucrative supply of income for oil and fuel making countries, such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. On the lookout even further into the long term, the similar pipelines can functionality flawlessly also for hydrogen creation, which is a subject matter that issues all nations around the world in Central Asia, for this reason this C5+1 format can be thoroughly justified, in its place of a quadrilateral dialogue. For Greece, hydrogen would be a terrific subject matter of curiosity, as it is acquiring its have hydrogen hub in Atherinolakkos, Crete to ship hydrogen from Africa. If a equivalent project can take place in Alexandroupolis, it will be of wonderful fascination for the entire Eurasian realm.

Just one closing position with regards to electrical power is geothermal energy. Greece has by now created various productive initiatives with geothermal energy and therefore has the scientific workforce that can give the expertise to international locations these as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, with massive geothermal possible, to develop new, continuous, electrical power flows. This gains increasing worth thinking about that the water ranges of the current hydro electrical power plants in both nations around the world are in a constant slide and, consequently, even hydro electric power is starting to be unreliable.


One more sector where collaboration would have a whole lot to add is the electronic a person. Collaboration in that sector has not developed as substantially however, on the other hand the digital and telecommunications interconnectivity hole in Central Asia is however huge and it has been set as a priority by the EU to bridge this gap, via the Capacity4dev application. Greece is producing its electronic infrastructure as a regional hub to the point that it is expected to account for 10% of its GDP above the upcoming 5 many years. Correspondingly, its facts middle sector is increasing at a tempo of 9% for every yr , which is operating as a backbone for the advancement of an AI, ML and internet three. marketplace, which is paramount for the digital overall economy. Central Asian states can place the digital sector on the agenda, each for very best follow sharing among the non-public sector of all the events, but also for exchange of sights involving plan makers on what guidelines do the job and what don’t.


Last but not least, other sectors that can help establish strong bonds, without possessing a big effect on both equally economies, would be effective to be tackled as a result of this structure. An illustration is the trend and garments industry. In all international locations, pure fur is even now not banned and, if created underneath farming tactics working with sustainability and circularity, they can show to be a supply of economic development. The rationale is that in all 6 nations, garments has been developed in area cooperatives applying conventional strategies. Exchange of traditions opens a possible collaboration on historical past and culture as properly. Even if this has not been exhaustively talked about, Greece’s record is intertwined with the area. The historic Greek kingdom of Macedonia arrived in get in touch with with the kingdoms of Sogdiana, Bactria, Scythia, Media and the Achaemenid Empire, as well as the Persian Empire, which was near to the Central Asian kingdoms, and there have been exchanges of cultural and creative properties among the the aforementioned civilizations. Mixed with the various historic ties of Greece with the Turkic environment, the two functions share many cultural components that they can establish into projects of cultural and historic heritage, as properly as inventive assignments of higher-top quality.

In a nutshell

In sum, so significantly the solution of the EU and Central Asia has had appreciable achievements, specifically the two a long time that adopted the COVID-19 disaster, as very well as the new a single that followed amidst the invasion of Ukraine. Nonetheless, there is nonetheless a lengthy way to go so that the two functions realize their ambitions, both equally in discovering new markets, lessening vitality and food insecurity and strengthening their infrastructure. In this system, just one significant benefit is remaining disregarded and that is the specific nature of the relations of Japanese European countries, in spite of their smaller sizing, with Central Asian states. Just one of them, Greece, also has the significant significance located in its geostrategic location and can assist boost Central Asia’s passions in discovering new markets for uncooked supplies and processed items. In these attempts, the C5+1 format can operate really well, nevertheless some amendments are to be built to adapt to the nature of these 6 countries’ relations. Concentrating on topics that can demonstrate to be solid points of cooperation, there is a significant prospect that trade among Central Asia and Greece will keep on to skyrocket, but, to a path that is beneficial for the economies of all six states and that converts the Southeast European country into a significant hub for products transported all over the world, that can greatly enhance electricity and meals protection globally.

[Photo by fdecomite, via Wikimedia Commons]

The views and thoughts expressed in this article are people of the writer.

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