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Regionalism Beyond Love Thy Neighbour: Why the European Union’s Model of Integration is Not a Perfect Fit in the Caucasus Undergraduate Research Colloquium.

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Presentation on theme: "Regionalism Beyond Love Thy Neighbour: Why the European Union’s Model of Integration is Not a Perfect Fit in the Caucasus Undergraduate Research Colloquium."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regionalism Beyond Love Thy Neighbour: Why the European Union’s Model of Integration is Not a Perfect Fit in the Caucasus Undergraduate Research Colloquium By: Delila Bikic POL359Y1 – Enlarging Europe and International Course Module in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia

2 Introduction: Why this project? Learning Beyond the Classroom  Pre-Departure: POL359Y – Enlarging Europe Class, taught by Professor Robert Austin  Research Trip to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia (International Course Module Program 2014)  Final Paper combined academic sources and field research Source: BBC News

3 Academic Focus  Interest in European Enlargement and European Union (EU) Politics  Interest in the Caucasus region  Lead to the study of the European Union’s involvement in the post- Soviet space vis-à-vis Republic of Georgia Introduction: Why this project? Research Interests, Motives, and Objectives Research and Travel Experience  Beyond the textbook: application and implication of theoretical policy frameworks  Field research as a unique undergraduate experience  Holistic approach to education: discovering Georgian culture and heritage

4 Overview  Research questions and initial expectations  Discussing Methodology  Background of study  Consulting secondary works and theoretical foundations  Field research (interviews with key stakeholders in Tbilisi)  Findings a need for reflection and revision of predictions  Final conclusions and lessons learned

5 Framing the Research Questions  What is telling of the current EU-Georgia relations?  What is the EU approach in Georgia? In the wider Caucasus region?  Are there efforts to increase Georgia’s prospects of joining the European integration project or is the EU focus on facilitating domestic reform in the country?  If the focus is more internal, in what ways is the EU oriented towards building stronger neighbour cooperation among the Caucasus countries?  Is it possible for the EU to export and replicate its model of regionalism in the Caucasus? Can it achieve the same level of political cooperation? Republic of Georgia Azerbaijan Armenia Source: New York Times

6 Defining Region and Regionalism  EU as a product of the ‘new regionalism’ wave  Identity and value driven Sub-regionalism Model (Manoli) ‘ Regionalist Waves’ Theory (Hurrel) Know the characteristics  “Geographical contiguity and proximity” (German, 11)  Shared economic and political factors  A shared identity: awareness and consciousness  (South) Caucasus within the Black Sea region

7 Record of Regionalism in the Caucasus?  Early attempts: post-Soviet states viewed regional based initiatives as viable for national and economic security (i.e. Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), GUAM Organization, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Project (BSEC))  Diverging outlooks in 2000s: Georgia looks to Europe, Armenia and Azerbaijan towards Russia  Factoring in the EU involvement: regionalized foreign policy for its “eastern neighbourhood” (i.e. European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Action Plans, Eastern Partnership initiative) Source: BSEC Web

8 Value of Field Research Diversity of Stakeholders  Katevan Vashakidze, President, Eurasia Partnership Foundation  Giorgi Vardishvili, National Expert – Political and Media Analyst, Office of the European Union Special Representative  Andro Baranovi, Former Head of Georgian Presidential Administration  Renata Worbel, Second Secretary, Deputy Head of the Political, Economic, and Press Section, Office of the European Union Delegation to Georgia  Tornike Nozadze, Deputy Head of the European Integration Coordination Department, Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration  Tamar Beruchashvili, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia  Roman Kakulia, Head of the European Union Assistance Coordination Department, Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration

9 Findings… Unpacking Regionalism as a Geographical Construct  EU approach Part I: geography as a determinant of likelihood and strength of a state’s external relations (Caucasus as a distinct regional unit)  However… far from a “united Caucasus”  Some bilateral cooperation at civil society level, “unity hard to achieve” at state level  States lack self-identification with a “common Caucasian regional identity” (Eurasia Partnership Foundation Survey Report )  The Caucasus Way: replace the regional partner (i.e. Georgian relations with the United States) Map of the South Caucasus states Source: The International Ecotourism Society

10 Findings continued… Geography Revisited: Domestic Roots of International Relations  EU approach Part II: Georgia to lead by example in the region  Domestic reform for the purpose of Georgia’s role in advancing relations of Caucasus states as “European neighbours”; Georgia as a “beacon of European integration” (Beruchashvili, Deputy Foreign Minister)  Thinking about linkage vs. leverage (Way and Levitsky) in the post-Soviet space…  EU’s linkage and leverage in Georgia, deeper ties through democratization and reform  No EU linkage or leverage in Armenia and Azerbaijan, divide proliferated by Russia

11 Findings continued… Struggles over Territories are Struggles over Cooperation  Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia territories: regional as much as internal conflicts  Unresolved territorial conflicts are obstacles to normalizing relations and trilateral cooperation (strained Armenia-Azerbaijan relations over Nagorno- Karabakh)  Russia as an important player in the region has strained relations  Georgia’s “European Way”: a Reality?  Dependent on the future of Russia’s leverage  Interest-oriented politics as a barrier to European- oriented Tbilisi Map showing regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia Source: The Wall Street Journal

12 Findings continued… Caucasian Oil is not European Coal and Steel  Expectation that energy and oil are catalysts for cooperation has not been realized  Shortcomings of EU efforts to bind the Caucasus in collective interests  Oil pipelines (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) have increased potential for cooperation, especially due to reliance of transit countries for transport (i.e. Azerbaijan oil vis-à-vis Georgia) European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the Caucasus? Roman Kakulia, Office of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration: “The ECSC worked because there was political will to cooperate with other players for unification.”

13 Final Thoughts and Lessons Learned  Obstacles to replicating EU’s model of regionalism in the Caucasus  Regionalism goes beyond geography, identity and a sense of belonging triumph  Unresolved territorial conflicts and role of third actors  Oil and gas: not a foundation for political integration  Need for a change in the EU approach?  Develop individual identification with the region first, external ties second  Recognize Russia as an important player and engage in dialogue A Special Thanks to Professor Robert Austin, Daria Dumbadze, and Giorgi Nikoladze for making the International Course Module trip to the Republic of Georgia possible and memorable.


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