Russia's refusal to build South Stream gas pipeline was followed by a cascade of different statements, including the ones from the countries that were going to receive Russian gas. And many of the statements indicated the key word "Azerbaijan".
Despite all its declarations of support and importance of Azerbaijani gas supplies, Europe's attitude towards Azerbaijan has always been somewhat biased. Today, however, everyone understands that Azerbaijan, and in the future suppliers from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea as well (by transit via Azerbaijan) at least will not allow Europe to freeze.
Most recently, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country's government was working on a new solution to the issue of energy security after Russia's statement about the stop of the South Stream project. In particular, Orban said that Hungary has "good relations with Azerbaijan."
Also, the Prime Minister of Croatia Zoran Milanovic said that the closure of South Stream gas pipeline project by Russia will not have a negative impact on Croatia, as the country has other sources of gas supply. He said that the Azerbaijani gas through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has always been more important for Croatia.
Although 10 billion cubic meters of gas which Azerbaijan intends to supply at the first stage cannot be compared to the Russian volumes, the Southern Gas Corridor will open a route on which considerable gas volumes will be transported in the future. This also includes gas from other fields of Azerbaijan, from Turkmenistan. And it is also possible to include 'blue fuel' from Iran in the future. In any case, Azerbaijan is an important partner of the EU both as a supplier and as a transit country and EU has begun to understand that.
Today, as the political and economic leader in the region, the country is the most beneficial and reliable ally for all. However, unfortunately, not all understand this.
The country is located between Russia and Iran with which Europe and the US have serious problems. Nevertheless, the politicians in Brussels and Washington still can't abandon the mentor tone when discussing Azerbaijan's domestic policy.
Thanks to Azerbaijan's balanced foreign policy, the good relations with Russia and Iran counterbalance the partnership with Europe and the US. However, the latter ones make every effort to change this balance not in their favor.
The West will get a reliable partner and ally in the region by understanding that. The time will tell whether it will understand that or not.
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova