EU elaborates new strategy for South Caucasus

KAVKAZ

During a meeting on September 14, EU Foreign Ministers are expected to launch a debate on how to bring the bloc’s outreach to the South Caucasus up to date. The EU recognizes that the South Caucasus is gaining in importance in terms of regional stability, energy, and trade. All three countries (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan) are being offered association agreements which could lead to free trade and visa liberalization. EU membership, as before, is not on offer.

Every country interested in cooperation will be given the chance, since no one can hold anyone else back.

EU officials familiar with recent debates within the bloc say its current Swedish presidency has been asked to draw up a guidance document for an in-depth review of the aims of EU cooperation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

The goals of EU outreach and the offer it makes must be the same for all three countries, officials say. This spells a quiet end to Georgia’s ambitions to elevate itself to a status on par with Ukraine. Instead, it’s placed firmly in the same bracket with Armenia and Azerbaijan, radio Svoboda reports.

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