The European Commission today unveiled the findings of the Analysis on Green Transport Links between Europe and Central Asia, an initiative stemming from the Global Pathway blueprint. This provides a robust platform for prospective sizeable investments in green transportation routes linking the EU with Central Asia. Sponsored by the EU and executed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the study pinpoints a network of optimal green transport avenues and capital deployment possibilities for the five Central Asian nations. This aims to bolster their green economic capabilities through improved connectivity both intra-regionally and with Europe.
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for Global Alliances, comments: “This analysis provides a strategic roadmap for transport infrastructure conceptualization and growth within the Central Asian sphere. It unlocks potential avenues for both public and private sectors to finance pivotal connectivity ventures that not only adhere to stringent sustainability metrics but are also charted in close alliance with associated countries. The findings offer a strong foundation to expedite the enhancement of the Trans-Caspian route.”
Adina Vălean, Transport Commissioner, remarks: “In the backdrop of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, this exhaustive analysis has garnered significant geopolitical relevance. A cohesive corridor strategy will elevate the viability, economic allure, and functional prowess of Central Asian transport networks. Detailed suggestions span both tangible infrastructure and intangible connectivity facets – the actualization of these proposed ventures and strategies can lead the Central Trans-Caspian route to guarantee a consistent 13-day transit period. I am eager to fortify the bond between Europe and Central Asia through eco-friendly transport conduits.”
In conjunction with highlighting 33 crucial tangible infrastructure development requisites across the expanse (ranging from upgrades/rebuilding of current railways/roads, augmented rail/road connections, fleet augmentation, port capability enhancement, logistical hubs, storage facilities, and more), the analysis also suggests 7 collaborative endeavors in intangible connectivity aspects. This encompasses trade streamlining, regulatory alignments, digital transitions, tariff unification, customs modus operandi, border checks, and interoperable systems. Specific, tangible, actionable, and pragmatic measures are laid out that can augment the sustainability and overall efficacy of Central Asian transport conduits.
Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis showcased the pivotal insights of the study at the second EU-Central Asia Economic Summit on 19 May 2023 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It contemplates sustainability in its broadest scope, encompassing ecological, socio-economic, financial, fiscal durability, and political feasibility aspects.
Come autumn 2023, there will be a sequence of in-depth stakeholder dialogues, followed by an Investors’ Symposium anticipated in early 2024. This ensures tangible progression of the ventures outlined within the study, fostering a collaborative European approach.
From November 2021 to June 2023, the study pursued dual aims:
- Ascertain the greenest transport passageways connecting the Central Asian quintet (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) with the EU’s expanded Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). This involved a rigorous sustainability evaluation spanning ecological, social, economic, and fiscal dimensions, including political feasibility.
- Suggest primary moves for corridor growth, both in physical structures and the supporting environment, with a focus on their prioritization rooted in a holistic, sustainable transport corridor evolution strategy.
Geographically, the study evaluated existing and possible new pathways ensuring optimal green transport connections between all five Central Asian countries and the EU’s TEN-T, spanning 27 EU nations and beyond. This was based on a thorough examination of the region’s current transport dynamics and stakeholder consultations, encompassing Central Asian nations, EU members, and various other entities.
The transport modalities primarily involved terrestrial (rail and road) and marine routes (Black and Caspian Seas). Comprehensive assessments were made on interoperability with alternative transport modes, legal frameworks, customs processes, existing bilateral accords, and potential multi-modal junctions along these pathways.