Foreign Policy Specialization of Small States: Latvia's Engagement in Central Asia
Romanian Journal of European Affairs, vol. 21, no. 2, December 2021
16 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 22, 2021
The paper seeks to develop and explain the concept of small state foreign policy specialization, using the example of the Republic of Latvia and its engagement with the Central Asian countries. Latvia’s foreign policy development for the past few years demonstrates an increasing self-assertiveness of the small Baltic state. Since leaving the Soviet Union, Latvia has been seeking to consolidate its position in the Western community of countries, demonstrating that it is a trustworthy partner. Most recent developments in Latvia’s foreign policy demonstrate the country’s willingness to share the responsibilities within the international system, support its EU and NATO partners, as well as advance its own diplomatic goals. The analysis demonstrates that the European Union is interested in economic, security and political collaboration with the five Central Asian countries, and Latvia has natural advantages in its expertise, know-how and historical positioning towards the region. Unlike larger EU member states, Latvia can be viewed as more understandable and an equal partner in bilateral relations. Latvia has chosen its engagement and support for the Central Asian countries at the EU level because of both a fair solidarity and the efficient use of the limited financial and diplomatic resources that the small country has in its arsenal.
Keywords: Small states, European Union, Latvia, Central Asia, Uzbekistan
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