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To the casual observer, Kazakhstan can be a tricky country to get to grips with. In 2010 they scored a major diplomatic coup by becoming the first post-Soviet country to chair the OSCE, where they hosted the stagnant organisation’s first summit in 11 years. While its neighbour Kyrgyzstan descended in chaos, Kazakhstan seemeed an oasis… » read more

All hail the Chinese CHAMPS.

The Chinese economic boom has been one of the world’s great stories for the past two decades. Fuelled by the emergence of coastal industrial powerhouses such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, China has succeeded in taking over 400 million people out of poverty. While some European companies have rsuccessfuly ridden the economic wave, a multitude of… » read more

EU leaders have long emphasized the need for Brussels to get more “strategic” in its partnership with China. Launched in 2003, the strategic partnership between the two sides has been the subject of a voluminous (and often excruciatingly tedious) academic debate, a plethora of grand sounding political statements and ultimately much disappointment. The topic gained… » read more

After more than two weeks in China, and a third visit in two months, I offer a number of reflections and recommendations, including on developing the so-called “strategic partnership”. EU-China relationship This is best characterised as: “Europe, we still love you. We’ll love you even more if you get your act together externally – as… » read more

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