EU Region-Building in the Neighbourhood:The Eastern Partnership’s Contribution in the South Caucasus

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Series Details No.4, March 2017
Publication Date March 2017
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The EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies department of the College of Europe publishes a series of working papers dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the European Union’s external relations and external aspects of EU internal policies. The EU Diplomacy Papers offer a platform for debate to visiting professors, staff and students as well as external contributors.The promotion of regionalisation is part of the foreign policy of the European Union(EU). However, a closer understanding of the mechanisms by which its policies work towards this goal is lacking. Taking the South Caucasus as a case, this paper asks how the Eastern Partnership contributes to region-building.

Based on policy analysis, discourse analysis and interviews, the study adopts a four-layered understanding of region-building as the promotion of closer cross- order contacts.

Regarding economic linkages, the analysis underlines Georgia’s gateway function. On political linkages, the analysis assigns importance to regulatory harmonisation as a bottom-up tool against divisive regional discourses. Cross-border management fulfils a similar technical role for the promotion of security linkages. Concerning
cultural linkages, Georgia is analysed as a hub for common socialisation and people-to-people

Derived from these findings, the paper induces three general hypotheses about the mechanisms of EU contributions to region-building: while combining bilateral with multilateral approaches and functional spill-over effects contribute to region-building, the inclusion of non-state actors does not advance region-building

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