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CASCADE Exploring the Security-Democracy Nexus in the Caucasus

This project analyses the root causes of conflict and insecurity in the Caucasus, the links between the region and its wider neighbourhood, and regional security and democratisation processes.

By conducting synergetic research on democracy and security in the Caucasus, the project intends to develop a set of proposals on how the EU could enhance its role in the region.

Please follow our work on www.cascade-caucasus.eu.

CASCADE Newsletter:

November 2014

March 2015

July 2015

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Increasing EU engagement in the South Caucasus

The South Caucasus is heavily influenced by Russia, followed by the European Union (EU), Turkey and the United States (US). Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, together with these external actors, constitute a dense web of interdependent relationships involving governance and values; security and conflict; and trade and energy. The tensions between the EU/US and Russia are further entrenching these interdependencies and hampering development in the South Caucasus. More cooperation is needed between the EU, US and Turkey. Inertia on their part risks losing influence to a more assertive Russia, which seeks to remain the dominant force in the region.


The South Caucasus concert: Each playing its own tune

By Jos Boonstra (28/09/2015) Working Paper
Jagermesh/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

The countries of the South Caucasus have very different interdependent relations with the European Union (EU), Russia, Turkey, the United States (US) and Iran. Tensions between the EU-US and Russia over Ukraine are further entrenching these interdependent relations and hampering development in the South Caucasus. How can Brussels increase its engagement in this important region in order to reduce Russian dominance and bolster security and democracy?


A broken region: evaluating EU policies in the South Caucasus

Jacob Surland/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The South Caucasus is a broken region characterised by local tensions and conflicting influences of large regional actors – the European Union, Russia and Turkey. The EU remains highly attractive to South Caucasus societies but its technocratic and government-focused policies have failed with Armenia and Azerbaijan, while reform in Georgia remains fragile. Furthermore, the region remains volatile due to the high potential for domestic instability; inflammable protracted conflicts; and Russia’s heavy influence.


Turkey’s Russia conundrum: To court or to curb?

By Nigar Göksel (23/09/2014) Policy Brief
Hervé Bry/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Ukraine crisis has exposed Turkey’s efforts to avoid direct involvement in Russia-EU tensions. Ankara essentially hovers between gaining economic advantages from cooperation with Moscow and counterbalancing Russian assertiveness in the region. But Turkey's relatively neutral position will not be sustainable if it’s vital energy and security interests in the Caucasus are threatened. An alignment of EU-Turkey tactical cooperation and strategic thinking towards the Black Sea region has been distinctly lacking, but Turkish societal links with East European and South Caucasus countries could become an asset for Turkish-EU cooperation.


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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe鈥檚 external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE鈥檚 long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE鈥檚 emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe鈥檚 external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE鈥檚 founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE鈥檚 dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE鈥檚 work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE鈥檚 extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe鈥檚 future.

The President of the Board


FRIDE ces贸 sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones econ贸micas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta dif铆cil decisi贸n dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiaci贸n, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribuci贸n al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez m谩s complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperaci贸n multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atenci贸n prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Uni贸n Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy a煤n m谩s relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la regi贸n. El 茅nfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y m谩s all谩. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la b煤squeda de una pol铆tica exterior europea com煤n que sea eficaz y est茅 basada en los principios fundamentales de la integraci贸n europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos a帽os. Tambi茅n quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comit茅 Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de pol铆tica exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a trav茅s de los a帽os y tambi茅n damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuar谩 informando el pensamiento y la acci贸n en un momento muy cr铆tico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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