The EU’s sixth Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit will convene today in Brussels.
The most important agenda item on today’s forum is the EU’s policy with regards to the Caucuses. Since the Nagorno-Karabakh war—which ended in Azerbaijan’s victory— the EU increased its active involvement in the region by providing aid to conflict-affected areas in Armenia and Azerbaijan. The summit is meant to serve as an opportunity for Brussels to increase its presence throughout the region and counter Russian ascendancy through diplomacy and economic partnership.
While the EU aims to increase purchases of Baku’s gas through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), it also wants to refrain from alienating Armenia. Therefore, Brussels will first push Baku to accept full membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the short-term. It could also focus on pressing for post-war concessions that will satisfy both parties. In this framework, Brussels will likely try to secure a sub-organization within the EaP member states to solve post-war disagreements. With this effort, Brussels aims to increase its engagement within the Caucuses. This plan however, is highly unlikely to transpire as Baku is displeased about receiving very minimal post-war EU funds when compared Yerevan.
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Can is a Publisher and Analyst with Foreign Brief and currently pursuing his PhD in the Department of History at Bighampton University. His research there primarily focuses on the 19th-century Balkan independence movements.