Explaining the resurgence of regionalism in world politics
Review of International Studies
More than a decade since its founding, regionalism still remains a foreign term to the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), one of the main programs geared towards the mission of a unified, integrated Caucasus. At present, the European Union serves as the best example of regionalism, in which political integration has been achieved through economic imperatives. While Europe celebrates its achievements in twenty-eight member states, questions arise about the potential for European regionalism
... be exported to other parts of the world and if so, whether it would be as transformative in encouraging states to perceive themselves as more integrated regional partners. Looking ahead to the future of enlargement, the EU approach in the Caucasus has leaned more towards promoting regional cooperation than opening up accession talks. This has been due in part to the ways in which the countries in the region view their ties to Europe. While Georgians aspire to potential membership in the European club, the same cannot be said about Armenia and Azerbaijan. The factor of regional cooperation is still largely absent, as these countries have a long way to go in developing strong relations with each other. While bilateral relations have developed over the years, the three have fallen short in consolidating trilateral cooperation on issues related to security, trade, and territorial disputes. A comparative analysis of field research and scholarly works on the subject has shown that there are a number of factors that impede the success rate of the EU model. Challenges to increased regional ties include the contested status of certain territories in the region. Geography has taken on a special importance as well, as states' identification with the Caucasus as a region has been poor. Finally, despite having vested interests in transiting oil and energy, these resources have sparked limited political engagement. Looking ahead to the future, the fragility of the EU model of integration in the Caucasus will persist until collective solutions are found to remove all obstacles impeding closer regional cooperation.