The EU’s Quest in South Caucasus: Energy Security and Pro-Active Engagement
The EU is implementing all the possible projects in order to lessen Russian gas dominance in the European market and in this regard one of those big projects is the ‚Southern Corridor‛, which includes Nabucco as priority project as well as ITGI, TAP and White Stream. None of these projects has been materialized as of yet and all of them heavily depends on Azerbaijani gas for their take off stage. When the EU high ranking bureaucrats visited to Azerbaijan on 13 January, 2011, President of European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a joint declaration on gas delivery for Europe in Baku. With this declaration, Azerbaijan for the first time committed itself -to supplying substantial volumes of gas to the European Union in the long run, which has led Europe to access to Azeri markets. In the wake of this visit, the European Parliament (EP) adopted ‚An EU Strategy for Black Sea region‛ on 20 January, 2011. This strategy, among others, called in the EU as “more direct engagement” and “EU’s leading role in the negotiations and peace-making processes”. On energy security issues, the resolution stresses on the importance of the Southern Corridor and “the significance” of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transportation to Europe in the form of the AGRI project. Although the document refers ‚energy security‛ issues, there is no link to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the challenge area for EU and its energy security in the future. Similar document (on the need for a E u r o p e a n U nio n s tr a t e g y for the South Caucasus) concerning South Caucasus was approved by the EP on May 20, 2010. Unless Azerbaijani territories are liberated from the Armenian occupation and EU formulate a strategy to show its stance in the regional problems, peace and stability in the region will be unattainable. Accordingly, it some question arises such as is the EU ‚soft‛ or ‚smart‛ power in South Caucasus and why EU is not going to implement strong political will towards this region?
Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 2 No. 1