SEnECA Final Conference “What Future for EU-Central Asia Relations?” Brussels, 14-15 November 2019

The final conference of the Horizon 2020 project “SEnECA – Strengthening and Energizing EU-Central Asia relations” was held in Brussels on 14-15 November 2019. The event “What Future for EU-Central Asia Relations?” was organised by the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and the Centre international de formation européene (CIFE).

The conference adresssed academics, government officials, practitioners and experts from Europe and Central Asia to discuss the future of EU-Central Asia relations. There were Peter Burian, the EU’s Special Representative (EUSR) for Central Asia, who among other conference participants, as well as several ambassadors and representatives of the Central Asian countries.

During the two-day event, SEnECA consortium members presented the outputs of the project and discussed the recommendations to implement the EU’s new Central Asia strategy. The conference included sessions on cooperation between the EU and Central Asia in the field of education and research, communication and transfer of knowledge, culture as a catalyst for social change in Central Asia and connections between Asia and Europe.

Furthermore, the last panel of the conference was an outlook on EU-Central Asia relations for 2030. Two keynote speeches were held – first by Andris Ameriks, the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Tajikistan and EU-Uzbekistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (DCAS) on the EP’s perspective on EU-Central Asia relations, and the second by EUSR Peter Burian on the EU’s future role in Central Asia.

The SEnECA Final Conference was also a good opportunity to see many of the photos of Central Asian nature and everyday life that were shown during the SEnECA Photo Exhibition in April 2019. As part of the conference, the Kyrgyz film “The Song of the Tree”, was screened on the evening of 15 November. The film is set in the XVIII century and portrays the Kyrgyz cultural traditions and their clashes with modern life. Finally, the conference was a good opportunity to network with stakeholders of EU-Central Asia relations from the academia, politics, civil society and the cultural sphere.

The conference was the final event of the two-year project after a kick-off meeting in Berlin in January 2018, a networking conference in Riga in April 2018, a midterm conference and scenario workshop in Almaty in January 2019 and a recommendations workshop in Brussels in July 2019.