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South Caucasus important for EU

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, July 21
Since general agreement on the construction and operation of the NABUCCO pipeline has been achieved, the South Caucasus region has received even more significance for the EU. Therefore the Eastern Partnership Programme has also developed extra importance and new possibilities to further cooperation between the EU and South Caucasus countries have emerged.

We are happy that presumably Georgia will play a very serious role in implementing the NABUCCO project. Moreover we think that the importance of this project should facilitate to a certain extent the fulfilment by Russia of the Medvedev-Sarkozy ceasefire agreement. The EU has already given a considerable amount of financial support to Georgia and this assistance continues.

Everybody in Georgia understands that for the successful implementation of the NABUCCO project the region and this country in particular need long term stability. This is particularly important now that the EU has taken on the whole burden of international peace monitoring around the conflict zones, as there are no other international observer organisations left in Georgia now the OSCE and UNOMIG have been forced to pull out.

Economic expert Gia Khukhashvili thinks that Europe has finally identified that it should avoid being dependent only on Russia and try to satisfy its needs by bypassing Russia. This political decision has been made and it would have been better if Europe had understood this before. “Today Russia is much more powerful and it has more mechanisms it can use to prevent the implementation of these projects than it had two or three years ago,” states Khukhashvili.

Russia has ambitions to become an energy supplying empire and exercise the power it will thus gain to politically influence European decisions. So it could do anything and everything to frustrate NABUCCO or similar projects. After occupying Georgian territory in 2008 and not being punished for this Russia’s ambitions have grown. Moscow can use its influence in two directions, preventing countries from supplying their gas and preventing transit countries from allowing the gas to pass through their territory by all possible and impossible means.

Khukhashvili suggests that the South Caucasus and Georgia in particular are the front line between the West and Russia.