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The Geek, The Bully, and The Freaks: Diversifying EU Energy Sources Through and Exercising Influence in the South Caucasus

  • Nelli Babayan
Chapter
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)

Abstract

Russia’s blackmailing policy of “turning off the gas tap” forced the EU to look for other sources of energy supply through the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor. That is when the South Caucasus with its EU-enthusiast Georgia, EU-supporter Armenia, and most importantly, EU moderate but energy-rich Azerbaijan came under the EU’s spotlight. However, the EU has yet to secure energy supplies through the Southern corridor. The large portion of the blame for lack of success has been directed at the ubiquitous inconsistency and incoherence of EU foreign policy and lack of solidarity between member states. However, in the case of the South Caucasus the EU’s capacity to exercise its influence has been inter alia a subject to Russia’s smart bullying, the region’s “backyard” nature for Russia, and lack of regional cooperation, largely due to frozen conflicts.

By the analyses of developments within new agreements, commissioning of new pipeline projects, and competing Russian projects, this chapter defines and outlines the limitations of the EU’s capability to exercise influence in a multi-actor environment. The chapter analyses the drivers for and obstacles to the EU’s energy diversification plans, arguing that solidarity principles are often overridden not only by rational interests of member states but also by external factors shaping those interests and affecting the EU’s capacity to exercise influence for promoting its policies.

Keywords

European Union Regional Cooperation Pipeline Project European Neighbourhood Policy South Stream 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Diana Bozhilova and Tom Hashimoto for their comments on the early draft of this chapter.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research College “Transformative Power of Europe”Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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