EU to intensify political presence in region due to future interdependence with Baku and Ashgabat
Elmira Tariverdiyeva, commentator of the Trend European desk
The visit of the European Commission delegation headed by its President
Jose Manuel Barroso to the Caspian Sea region speaks about new trends in political relations of the European Union with the countries of the region. During his stay in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Barroso received the support of the two main contenders for gas supplies to Europe in the establishment of the Southern Corridor, the main component of which will be the Nabucco gas pipeline.
But most important is that the EU energy agreements signed with Baku and Ashgabat have very great political significance.
According to European Commission President Barroso, the EU is closely following the settlement of Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. But if today the European Union takes part in the life of the region with the presence of France in the OSCE Minsk Group, most likely, the tendency of strengthening the EU role in the life of the region will be observed in the future. This scenario is inevitable.
After the start of energy supplies from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the EU will be more interested in stability in the region. The EU will try to minimize the risks associated with the resumption of military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven occupied Azerbaijani districts. This is a necessary condition for ensuring energy security of the European countries, under such conditions, it is simply unprofitable for the EU to remain aloof from the political situation in the region.
The platform of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the future may become the European Union Institute, which brings together the conflicting countries in the Eastern Partnership project.
EU's involvement in more active mediation in the political life of the region should have a positive impact on the solution of many urgent problems that are still in a state of stagnation.
On the one hand, the EU, represented by France, is a co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, the European Union should in general have to say its word on the issue and play a more important role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. Brussels has to become a unifying element that can increase the interest of European politicians in improving the stability of the South Caucasus and began to coordinate the efforts of the European capitals in the settlement of territorial disputes in the region.
Despite that all EU member-states adhere to the general line of foreign policy, the nuances of domestic policy dictates its own rules.
The influence of the Armenian diaspora in the U.S. and France is not secret. The Armenian diaspora in the West plays an active political role in the decision-making in Washington and Paris. In this context, it would actually be better if the EU would take the political part in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process along with the Minsk Group.
Especially EU's mediation can be successful, given that the project of European integration is interesting for all Caucasus countries. Exactly this project, the implementation of which is hindered by the lack of stability in the region, could become the basis for dialogue between the conflicting sides, including between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
To become an active participant in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh territorial dispute, the EU should get acquainted with the realities of the conflict, because unlike post-Soviet countries, many European leaders are still not sufficiently aware of the nuances of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and are not aware of the fact of occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.
As for Turkmenistan, and here the start of cooperation in the energy sector will positively affect the welfare of the country. During talks in Ashgabat, the European Commission President Barroso proposed Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to appeal for membership in the WTO. Barroso promised on nehalf of the European Commission to make necessary assistance. This is a very important step of Turkmenistan, which would provide it with greater influence in the European integration process, which undoubtedly has a positive impact on the level of the country's development as a whole.