Three Take-Outs from the Central Asian Presidential Meeting

On 15th of March, the close celebration of Nowruz brought together in Astana the heads of four of the five Central Asian states, with the notable exception of Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, president of Turkmenistan, who was instead represented by the speaker of the Parliament, Akja Nurberdyeva. Hosted by Kazakhstan, at the initiative of the Uzbek president, Shavkat Mirziyoev, the summit was praised post factum as a significant step for closer regional cooperation. Read more ...

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At the Edge of Europe: Stabilizing the Balkans through Geoeconomic Regionalism

Just like a century ago – and throughout their entire history – the Balkans remain a zone of structural instability. In this respect, the demise of the Cold War confrontation (and rhetorics) did not bring along the advent of a stable, rule-based environment. Therefore, although the Balkan area is an essentially coherent cultural sub-space, while still being radically diverse, the relations of its constituent states have been marked by a confuse set of bilateral – and adversarial – interactions. Read more ...

Recommendation | A Pivot to Europe: China’s Belt-and-Road Balancing Act

In the international agora, China is increasingly reaching out to Europe. Driven both by economic necessities and strategic imperatives, a grand design for crossing (and transforming) Asia has been advanced: the Belt-and-Road Initiative. As they share a common (extended) neighbourhood in the Middle East and Central Asia, the two actors’ manner of interaction – cooperative or adversarial – shall define the future of the region. Read more ...

At the Far Ends of the Silk Road | A DAVA Review of 2017

The present publication marks the first period of our activity as a think-tank specialized in international affairs along the Silk Road. It consists of seven reports – a selection of the best contributions of our experts from the past year – that deal with pressing issues of the moment, but which will – undoubtedly – shape the strategic environment in 2018. These are the problems of today, but the roots of tomorrow’s challenges. Read more ...

Chinese-Serbian Economic Cooperation: Sudden Wealth and a Game of Musical Chairs

Chinese investments in Serbia provide an interesting political and economic setting. From the Serbian perspective, a rising global power is offering formidable resources for development. These are coupled with sufficient geographical (and perhaps geopolitical) distance so as to appear merely and genuinely ‘business-oriented’. In a seemingly intensifying game of ‘musical chairs’ between strategic orientations of Serbia towards the EU/US and/or Russia, the Chinese offerings might indeed seem like an escapist dream. Yet, as recent events tend to show, the geopolitical distance is shrinking fast and China is likely to introduce its own chair into the game at one point. What remains to be seen is whether it will be too hot for Serbia to sit on when the time comes. Read more ...

Recommendation: Left Behind? Reassessing the Balkan Quest for EU Integration

At the fringes of the European Union, but entirely engulfed by it, the Balkan countries have set upon their quest for integration ever since the late ‘90s. In their lasting interaction, the partners have engaged in an often inconsistent negotiation framework that moved from the idea of ‘sharing everything but institutions’ to a more cautious approach, dominated by (im)patience and mutual demands that did not generate any tangible outcome. Read more ...

China’s Offering in the Western Balkans

China’s role in the contemporary international order has exponentially grown over the past decade and has culminated with president Xi’s announcement of the ‘millennium project’: One Belt One Road (or the Belt and Road Initiative).  Considering that no country is currently offering such an ambitious endeavor to the world in the near future, China has underlined its leading position in the global agora. And a key role in the revitalization of the ancient Silk Road was put forward for the Western Balkan countries. Read more ...

Five Economic Highlights of the 2017 BRICS Summit Xiamen Declaration

The annual BRICS Summit bringing together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa has been concluded in the Chinese seaside city of Xiamen with the issuance of the Xiamen Declaration, which summarizes the points of consensus reached by the BRICS countries in various fields of their cooperation. While BRICS annual summit declarations are traditionally lengthy documents covering a wide range of subjects, present note highlights five specific issues of economic cooperation, which bear a unique imprint of the BRICS “partnership without alliance” and are expected shape the BRICS economic cooperation during its “second golden decade”. Read more ...

Not Just a Bridgehead: EU’s (Possible) Vision for Taiwan

From a geoeconomic perspective, Taiwan represents a hot spot that unites the flows of goods and capital from near mainland China, from the South-East Asian cauldron, as well as a bridgehead for Western transoceanic commerce and investment. Not truly an island (in the sense of isolation), but a focal meeting point between two seas and an (open) ocean, Taiwan strategically lies in one of the best positions in opening up the Asian markets to larger influxes of EU-based products and capital. Read more ...

Why Australia doesn’t face sovereign risk in the gas markets

Shortages of gas in the Australian market have led to calls for the government to impose restrictions on gas exports. Energy industry executives have responded by saying that market interventions would create a “sovereign risk”, deterring foreign investors and buyers of Australian gas. But this doesn’t apply to Australia for a number of geographic and geopolitical reasons. Read more ...