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Managing Conflict and Integration in the South Caucasus: A Challenge for the European Union

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Publisher: SIPRI
November, 2015

Parallel extra-regional integration projects in the South Caucasus culminated in June 2014 with Georgia’s conclusion of an European Union (EU) Association Agreement and in January 2015 with Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. Azerbaijan remains outside either project. The implementation of these projects risks an increase in regional fragmentation and a further destabilization of the South Caucasus, notably the protracted conflicts of Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. To counter the potential negative impacts of its integrationist policies in the South Caucasus, the EU should increase political and diplomatic engagement to mitigate conflict dynamics, and seek ways to lessen the destabilizing aspects of EU–Russia competition in the South Caucasus. To this end, this policy brief offers four recommendations to strengthen the EU’s conflict-resolution and stability-building policies in the region.


Dr Neil John Melvin was a Senior Researcher working on the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean Security.
Giulia Prelz Oltramonti is a research and teaching assistant at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).