Europe-Central Asia Forum (2005)
Krynica, Poland December 14-16, 2005
More than 130 participants including representatives of political elites, business circles, heads of governmental institutions and journalists took part in the three day Europe-Central Asia Forum in Krynica. There were 65 guests from Europe and Russia, and another 60 from Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan).
Where did the idea of such an innovative meeting come from? “We chose this topic because of the increasing importance of the Central Asian region in international relations. Enormous reserves of oil and gas of strategic importance are located in the area and should be considered as alternative sources of energy supplies” said Mr. Zygmunt Berdychowski, Chairman of the Economic Forum Programme Council, during the interview for Rzeczpospolita.
“The Central Asia region is becoming more and more important for the developing Chinese economy. Not only because of the oil, which consumption has been rising in China, but also because of the fact that a reasonably secure and short transportation route runs through this region. It’s importance for the world’s transportation system will be steadily increasing.” – the quotation from the Rzeczpospolita, published on the day of the opening session of the Europe -Central Asia Forum.
Opinions* presented during the Europe-Central Asia Forum:
Danuta Hubner, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy:
For the European Union it is important that all the Central Asia countries have been undertaking serious economic reforms. We would like to take part in this process. The distance between the regions has been diminished. Soon, Bulgaria and Romania will become the EU members, later on Turkey. This way the boarders of EU will reach Caucasus, and this is not far away from Kazakhstan.
Thierry Coville, an economist, French Center for Scientific Research (CNRS):
The economic growth in Kazakhstan is being set on by the governmental expenditure. There may be some problems in future, as there has been a visible lack of ideas what to do with the money that has been gained during the economic boom. Unfortunately, the oil countries are not willing to learn form other countries’ mistakes.
Brigit Brauer, the correspondent of “The Economist” in Kazakhstan:
Kazakhstan is waiting for the oil boom. Billions of dollars, which support the national economy, may cause so called Dutch disease. The countries which are “infected” develop slower than they possibly could, mainly because of the mismanagement.
Igor Torbakov, An independent analyst Jamestown Foundation in Ukraine:
Western countries have no interest in supporting democracy in Central Asia, and the American help is being perceived rather skeptically. After the recent events in Kyrgyzstan US is not interested in supporting local regimes. However, the importance of Russia has increased.
* the opinions are taken from press releases prepared by the journalist of Rzeczpospolita-the official media partner of the Europe-Central Asia Forum.
One of the events during the Forum was the presentation of the publication “Central Asia. Report on Transformation”. The presentation took place December 13th, 2005 in the headquarter of Rzeczpospolia, and than again during the Krynica meeting.