The EU must pursue a strategy to promote stability, prosperity and conflict resolution in the South Caucasus, argues a resolution adopted by Parliament on Thursday. The region is central to the EU's energy interests as it hosts the South Caucasus Pipeline, which transports gas from the Caspian to the Black Sea.
Although Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have been partners of the EU's Neighbourhood Policy since 2004, a comprehensive regional strategy is still lacking for the region, says the resolution, which was drafted by Evgeni Kirilov (S&D, BG). MEPs want the EU strategy for the South Caucasus to concentrate on three areas: conflict resolution; promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; economic cooperation and social development.
Europe faces a complex geopolitical situation in its dealings with this region, with conflicts in the Nagorno Karabakh area and Georgia as well as tensions between Armenia and Turkey. The situation of conflict in the region is neither acceptable nor viable, say MEPs, who express concern at the recent increases in military spending and call for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azebaïdjan. Another obstacle to economic and social development is the persistence of "frozen conflicts".
Lastly, MEPs highlight the importance of the region for the EU's energy security and supply. They express support for the strengthening of EU-South Caucasus cooperation in energy projects and urge the EU to work firmly towards completion of the Nabucco pipeline.
Background - upcoming elections in Georgia
Ahead of local elections in Georgia to be held on 30 May, MEPs insist that measures be taken to ensure that international electoral standards are respected. The EP's Foreign Affairs Committee will send an ad-hoc delegation of seven MEPs to observe these elections.