02 Jul 2007

EU Policy in the South Causasus: A View from Azerbaijan

Elkhan Nuriyev

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Since the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU in January 2007, the South Caucasus has become a region of direct concern to the EU’s strategy in its wider neighbourhood. This study examines the trends affecting EU policies in the South Caucasus, with a specific focus on EU–Azerbaijan relations. It argues that in the three main areas in which Azerbaijan affects Europe’s interests – cooperation in the energy sector, democratisation and conflict resolution – so far the EU has engaged well on a regional energy strategy, but less so on democratic reforms and almost not at all on conflict settlement in Nagorno Karabakh. The study concludes that the EU needs to balance its involvement in all three areas, especially given the deeper democratic changes it wishes to see in Azerbaijan, with a list of recommendations for doing so.