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Bringing South Caucasus Closer to Europe: Achievements and Challenges in ENP Implantation. Natolin Research Paper 03/March 2011

Delcour, Laure and Duhot, Hubert (2011) Bringing South Caucasus Closer to Europe: Achievements and Challenges in ENP Implantation. Natolin Research Paper 03/March 2011. UNSPECIFIED.

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    While the initial Commission Communication on Wider Europe (March 2003) did not include Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the forthcoming policy for the EU’s new neighbourhood, the Southern Caucasus region has now gained considerable attention in the framework of the ENP and beyond, not least because of security considerations. The ENP undoubtedly represents a step forward in the EU’s policy towards Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, yet its implementation highlights major differences between the three countries and important weaknesses in all three of them. The Eastern Partnership addresses some of these weaknesses and it also significantly strengthens the EU’s offer to South Caucasus countries, which is now fully in line with the perspectives proposed to the Western NIS. The paper highlights five main conclusions and recommendations: • Political, economic, social and diplomatic developments in the South Caucasus in the 2000's highlight both diverging trends and the persistence of tensions between the three countries. They also have different aspirations vis-à-vis the EU and different records in ENP implementation. The EU should therefore mainly rely upon an individual approach towards each country. • While bilateral relations should form the basis of the EU's approach, most of the challenges faced by Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are not confined to national borders and require regional solutions. This applies primarily, but not exclusively, to the unresolved conflicts. The EU should promote targeted regional cooperation including, inter alia, confidence-building measures to address indirectly the protracted conflicts and measures supporting drivers of change, which play a critical role in the confidence-building process; • Under the ENP, especially since the opening of negotiations for association agreements and with the perspective of DCFTA, trade-related issues, market and regulatory reform have become prominent in the EU's relations with all three Caucasus countries. At the same time, the priorities identified when the ENP was launched, i.e. good governance and the rule of law, still correspond to major challenges in the South Caucasus. The EU should more clearly prioritise good governance and the rule of law as the basis of both the ENP and successful reforms; • In all partner countries (but even more so in the South Caucasus), ENP implementation has been adversely affected by poor administrative capacities and weak institutional coordination. The EU should increasingly focus on institutional reform/capacity building in its support to partner countries and ensure that the link between the ENP and domestic reform processes is strengthened; • In the South Caucasus the EU has recently concentrated on a few assistance tools such as budget support, Twinning and TAIEX. While these instruments undoubtedly bring an added value, they should be better combined with tools allowing for greater flexibility and targeting non-governmental actors, e.g. EIDHR/NSA.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Caucasus
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Eastern Partnership
    EU policies and themes > External relations > European Neighbourhood Policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Natolin Research Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 12:02
    Number of Pages: 74
    Last Modified: 02 Apr 2015 11:59

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