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Typus
BauernOpfer
Bearbeiter
Graf Isolan
Gesichtet
Yes.png
Untersuchte Arbeit:
Seite: 61, Zeilen: 6-30
Quelle: Coppieters 2003
Seite(n): 164, Zeilen: 164:13-30; 168:20-38
In the past years, the picture of EU-South Caucasus relations looked like the following: economic interaction of the South Caucasus with the EU was peripheral as it is today, and as a consumer market the South Caucasus was negligible. There were some EU interests towards the energetic resources of the Caspian Sea, which could decrease the latter’s dependency on the Persian Gulf and Russia, but they were not considered vital enough. The South Caucasus was also peripheral in terms of the EU security interests. The frozen conflicts did not constitute significant threats to European security as did the conflicts of the Balkans.

For present, the situation has changed. The Caspian energy resources have attracted important capital investment by European oil and gas companies, and are relevant to Europe’s energy security. The Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh and the Georgian-“Russian” dispute on Abkhazia and South Ossetia have a destabilizing potential for Europe’s southern core, which makes the settlement of these conflicts a clear EU interest, especially, as they effect relations of the EU and important partners such as Russia.

Another incentive, which makes the South Caucasian countries attractive for the European Community is their function as a bridge to other regions. In the second half of the 1990s, the location of the South Caucasus states on the old Silk Road raised the prospect that these countries would emerge from the political isolation in which they had found themselves during the first years of independence. It also responded to the hope that their geopolitical location would lead to economic development, integration into global markets and political stability. The EU gave strong financial support for the development of a diversified transport system between Europe and Asia, crossing the South Caucasus. But, the failure of these states to remove regional barriers to trade (such as sanctions policies regarding unresolved secessionist conflicts), the lack of cross-border cooperation policies and the corruption of custom officials were a strong disincentive for the Union.98


98 Baev, Cornell – The South Caucasus. ISS, Dec. 2003. p.168

[Seite 164]

With regard to the South Caucasus, economic trade with the EU is peripheral, and as a consumer market, the South Caucasus is negligible. The energy resources of the Caspian Sea may decrease EU dependency on the Persian Gulf and Russia, but they should not be considered vital. The South Caucasus is also peripheral in terms of EU security interests. The frozen conflicts do not constitute significant threats to European security as do the simmering conflicts of the Balkans.

This does not mean that the South Caucasus is entirely irrelevant to EU economic or security interests. Caspian energy resources have attracted important capital investment by European oil and gas companies, and are relevant to Europe’s energy security. The Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh and the Georgian-Russian dispute on Abkhazia and South Ossetia have a destabilising potential for Europe’s southern core that makes the settlement of these conflicts a clear EU interest, especially as they affect relations between the EU and important partners such as Russia and Turkey.

[Seite 168]

Another approach to the notion of ‘periphery’ refers to the function of the South Caucasian states as a bridge to other regions. In the second half of the 1990s, the Silk Route discourse – linked among others to a number of transportation and communication projects of the European Commission – was able to fulfil a number of expectations.18 The political discourse locating the Caucasus at the periphery of Europe and Asia raised the prospect that these countries would emerge from the political isolation in which they had found themselves during the first years of independence. It also responded to the hope that their geopolitical location would lead to economic development, integration into global markets and political stability. The EU gave strong financial support for the development of a diversified transport system between Europe and Asia, crossing the South Caucasus. The focus on the South Caucasus as a bridge has receded in EU discourse after the failure of these states to remove regional barriers to trade (such as sanctions policies regarding unresolved secessionist conflicts), the lack of cross-border cooperation policies and the corruption of customs officials.


18. Op. cit. in note 13, pp. 88-9.

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