EU: Strategic relations with South Caucasus
The inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has reinforced Turkey’s influence in South Caucasus
Thursday, March 15, 2007 By Federico Bordonaro

Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency until 30 June, is working to deepen economic and political ties with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, while Brussels overtly speaks about the vital role of the Caspian Sea region for Europe’s energy security.

The enhancement of the new European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), with particular attention to South Caucasus and Central Asia, is one of Berlin’s priorities. The ENP initially excluded Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, but was extended to the three republics in June 2004, under the influence of the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia. As a result, three new ENP plans were launched on 14 November 2006, signaling Europe’s view that the time was ripe for a more ambitious agenda.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the republics in February. As he met his Georgian counterpart, Gela Bezhuashvili, in Tbilisi, Steinmeier said that “thanks to the current set of reforms, Georgia has a real chance to become a NATO member” and that the country’s resolution of the disputes between the central government and the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia “should not be a pre-condition for its NATO-membership.”
As Steinmeier and the German Social-Democrats favor closer political and economic relations with Moscow, the statement was a surprising one – and one that has surely boosted Tbilisi’s hopes of integration into Western security structures.

More: http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=8438

Federico Bordonaro, based in Italy, is an analyst of international relations and geopolitics with the Power and Interest News Report (PINR) and Strategic-Road.com. He is an expert on the new structure of the international system after the Cold War, the European integration process, security and defense issues and political realism. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), provides via the International Relations and Security Network a wide range of high-quality and comprehensive products and resources to encourage the exchange of information among international relations and security professionals worldwide. The ISN works to promote a better understanding of the strategic challenges we face in today’s changed security environment.

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