Imagine a man has for years been nasty to his family. One day he starts being a little bit nicer to them and promises to get much better in future. Is this the time to give him a citizenship award for his slight change in behaviour?

That’s essentially the question the European Union is facing over its relations with Uzbekistan. Some in Brussels think such a prize is already due, despite the fact that the central Asian country over decades has had one of the world’s worst human rights records.

The EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) defines the bloc’s trade relations and tariff cuts for low and lower-middle income countries, including Uzbekistan.