Summary of the ISDP Forum Kazakhstan in Europe – Time for European Integration?

On October 12, ISDP hosted a Forum discussion on Kazakhstan in Europe: Time for European Integration? The forum marked the launch of the Silk Road Paper Kazakhstan in Europe – Why not? authored by Dr. Svante Cornell, Director of ISDP, and Dr. Johan Engvall, Analyst at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), and Nonresident Senior Fellow at ISDP. The Forum also featured Dr. Aliya Tskhay, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Diplomacy at Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who joined Dr. Tskhay on the panel. The forum was moderated by Lisa Bäckman, Outreach Coordinator at ISDP.

Dr. Cornell began by presenting the paper “Kazakhstan in Europe: Why Not?” which discusses why Kazakhstan should be seen as a European country, and details its relationship with European institutions. It also covers the European features of Kazakhstan’s society and government.

Dr. Tskhay expanded on Kazakhstan’s European identity, how this is embraced in the country. Dr. Engvall went on to discuss the Kazakhstani definition of Eurasianism, presenting the idea of a positive Eurasian identity of Kazakhstan and how this positive definition of a Eurasian identity contrasts with the Eurasian ideology prevalent in Russia. Dr. Tskhay further expanded on this by explaining that Kazakhstan’s Eurasian identity constitutes a bridge between Asia and Europe. The forum then moved on to discuss various competing interests in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, such as India, China, and Russia, followed by a short discussion on how Europe can strengthen its cooperation with Kazakhstan, and the potential benefits increasing cooperation could have.

The forum ended with a Q&A session open to audience members, which covered topics such as Turkish influence in Kazakhstan, European culture in Kazakhstan, the role of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council, and the revival of Central Asia as a region.