South Caucasus and the European Union

Within the context of broadening the European Union to include ten new member States on May 1st, 2004, the European Commission has created a new cooperation framework, consisting in a neighborhood policy, with its Eastern and Southern neighbors. Initially kept from this neighborhood initiative, South Caucasus States have finally joined it as the consequence of a strategic decision made by the Council on June 14th, 2004. This decision appears to be the logical continuation of more than a decade of European assistance given to South Caucasus States in technical and financial matters (the Tacis Programme, alimentary and humanitarian assistance). It allows the European Union to reap the political dividends of its assistance by giving it a greater political visibility. What is more, it marks an important step in the history of European and South Caucasian relations, since, as it offers perspectives of reinforced cooperation, it sets new challenges to both the European Union and South Caucasian States. – Summary AFRI-2005