Finally! Central Asian Energy - the Start of EU's Global Test

Editorial |Author: Ivan Dikov | September 12, 2011, Monday // 17:20|  views

Finally! The EU is starting talks with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan for the creation of the long-fancied Trans-Caspian Pipeline.

I'm not only truly excited about this development but I think it's revolutionary. The EC shyly noted that "this is the first time the European Union has proposed a treaty in support of an infrastructure project."

But it is fairer to describe it as the EU's first major independent push to reach the energy resources of Central Asia and the Caspian Region which could be the key to its energy independence.

This means at last going beyond wishful thinking that Nabucco will somehow – by itself – get natural gas from across the region spanning from Egypt to Kazakhstan without any political backing by the Union – empty declarations voiced so many times by European politicians, Bulgarian leaders included.

However, the Trans-Caspian pipeline system (part of the Southern Gas Corridor), the Caucasus and Central Asia stand for more than oil and gas as far as the EU is concerned. They are about it finally gaining some traction as a unified global entity.

In order to secure the Trans-Caspian pipeline, the EU will have to help Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (Kazakhstan should be counted in, too, for all practical purposes) overwhelm the opposition of Russia and Iran, key Caspian littoral states – a daunting task!   

If its otherwise discordant diplomacy (i.e. the 27 member states plus the External Action Services) manages to secure the Caspian pipe, that will be a win with the potential to transform the EU in the direction of a tighter common foreign policy. It could also signal the establishing of the Southern Caucasus – and especially Georgia, the key geopolitical link between the Caspian and Azerbaijan, and EU's Black Sea shores – as a special zone of EU interests, with all respective consequences for the Union on the world stage.   

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Tags: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Ilham Aliyev, EU Commissioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger, EC, European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Russia, natural gas, gas transit pipeline, South stream, Nabucco, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International, Southern Gas Corridor, Trans-Caspian pipeline, natural gas, gas transit pipeline, Turkmenistan, Central Asia, Turkmenbasy, azerbaijan, Baku, Tengiz Field, ITGI, Interconnector Turkey Greece Italy, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, TAP, Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria


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