Present occasions in Ukraine and MENA area present how Eurasian stability, at geopolitical degree but in addition at energetic-resource-economic degree, is on a fragile and fragile second, with evident dangers of accelerating worldwide instability with repercussion on world scale. Current occasions in Azerbaijan additionally, with the army anti-terrorist offensive in opposition to Armenian secessionist group in Karabakh, and the top of the battle with a peace negotiations with Armenia in course of, are impacting geopolitics of Caucasus, with Russia shedding the grip on Armenia however nonetheless wanting to impose its sphere of affect within the area, and the West, specifically the US, supporting Georgia and Armenia with a present strained relations with Azerbaijan.
The connection between the EU and Azerbaijan subsequently, turns into very strategic not solely as a partnership in itself (as Azerbaijan has the nice potential to develop into the strategic chief of the South Caucasus future integration) but in addition as a bridge to the broader alliance between the EU with the Central Asia area, thorough Türkiye. This function of Azerbaijan, on the similar time of pivot of Caucasus and bridge with Central Asia, turns into essential and a possible recreation changer for Eurasia, serving to Europe to curb the Iranian and Russian spheres of affect within the space and on the similar time giving central function to this area for 2 causes.
First, with a stronger EU-Türkiye-Azerbaijan partnership, the West Eurasia would be sure that the ‘Heartland’ just isn’t falling underneath the spheres of affect of the final two East Eurasian imperialistic states (Russia and China). The challenge of the Zangezur Hall specifically, the final piece for the Center Hall challenge to attach Türkiye with Azerbaijan, is turning into essential on this, for the power, the commerce of products and the passage of individuals between Central Asia and Europe. A land hall passing by Armenia’s southern territory, would symbolize additionally the primary embryonic begin of a South Caucasus integration, so the present peace negotiations can symbolize an actual ‘Grand cut price’ among the many three nations of the area. This could be within the curiosity to start with of Azerbaijan, that will develop into each the pivot of the regional integration and the bridge between East and West. But in addition within the pursuits of the West, opposing calls from Russia or Iran for the entire exclusion of exterior actors from regional affairs, given their curiosity in spheres of affect.
Second a stronger partnership may very well be helpful to assist the EU, Türkiye and Azerbaijan to guide the inexperienced transition, globally and regionally, to adapt to local weather change and reworking it in a chance in addition to a problem. At present, the financial system of Azerbaijan stays depending on oil and gasoline, which account for a 3rd of GDP and 90% of exports however the nation has a plan of inexperienced transition, to chop 35% emission by 2030 in comparison with 1990 and has nice potentiality of renewable power in wind, photo voltaic and uncommon earth materials (and subsequent COP 29 will really be in Baku). Central Asia additionally has an awesome potential for renewable power, however Central Asian nations appears to take a divided path with everybody by its personal, whereas partnership with the EU, by Azerbaijan, may assist them to combine additionally their renewable power investments.
Within the final 30 years Azerbaijan was in a position to construct a secure and affluent state. For subsequent 30 years this nation is on the trail to be each a pivotal state within the new regional structure, and a regional energy, as a bridge between West and East, additionally by the Group of Turkic States, that might develop into somethings much like the European Union sooner or later.
Vitality safety within the final years grew to become an essential a part of nationwide safety of a state like army or financial safety with weaponization of power sources in new types of hybrid warfare. Vitality safety means to start with diversifying sources and imports to keep away from the dependency from some nations, but in addition decreasing demand with extra power effectivity and dashing the renewable power transition to realize power independency.
The EU power technique to start with relies on the inexperienced transition plan and the top of all Russian power imports by 2030, in line with the REPower EU Plan. The EU imported 380 bcm gasoline final yr, projected to import 400 in 10 yr, as till 2050 with the aim of ‘zero greenhouse gases’ and so ‘local weather neutrality’ the EU will nonetheless use fossil fuels for its power wants, a component the nuclear energy vegetation already functioning and those that may very well be constructed. So the EU within the meantime wants two major methods, one is to make use of much less gasoline with extra effectivity, which means discount of losses, higher distribution and so forth. And the second is the diversification. The area of South Caucasus is essential for this aim, not solely in itself however as a connector to the Caspian Sea and so Central Asia. And the pivot nation in South Caucasus for that is Azerbaijan.
At present there may be one major hall, the Southern Gasoline Hall, fabricated from the South Caucasus Pipeline/SCP, the Transanatolian pipeline/TANAP and the Transadriatic pipeline/TAP that carry Azerbaijan gasoline to Europe. Whereas the Oil is exported by the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline. However there’s a additionally a proposed subsea pipeline within the Caspian sea, the Transcapian Pipeline, to carry gasoline from Turkmenistan by Azerbaijan. There are plentiful pure gasoline reserves in and across the Caspian (those situated within the Shah Deniz offshore discipline for instance are estimated in 60 Trillion cubic toes) that represent an apparent medium- to longterm supply of provide for Europe. And once more, the mandatory companion to succeed in the EU is Azerbaijan.
The EU partnership with Azerbaijan relies at the moment on two essential packages: the EU and Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation Settlement since 1999 and the EU Technique for the South Caucasus, inside Japanese Partnership Program since 2010. The EU is Azerbaijan’s major buying and selling companion, accounting for round 52% of Azerbaijan’s complete commerce (with a constructive commerce steadiness of 29B Euro of commerce surplus) and with 9 members of the EU, Azerbaijan signed or adopted declarations on strategic partnership, as not too long ago Azerbaijan president acknowledged.
Relating to the gasoline specifically, since July 2022 the EU and Azerbaijan have an MOU in line with which they need to double the Azeri gasoline exportation to EU by 2027, making it 20 bcm, and increase the Southern Gasoline Hall with European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Improvement (EBRD). Just lately at COP 28 Azerbaijan President stated that they will meet the goal of doubling pure gasoline exports to Europe, however his nation has but to safe the long-term gross sales offers it wants to take a position billions to spice up manufacturing. Truly on the COP 28 Azerbaijani Vitality Minister and EU Vitality Commissioner met to debate the EU partnership with Azerbaijan, specifically for the Southern Gasoline Hall growth, the implementation of the “Solidarity Ring” plan, but in addition the “Caspian-Black Sea-Europe” inexperienced power hall. Azerbaijan subsequently can develop into from a ‘paneuropean gasoline provider’, because the EU Commissioner for power had known as its, to a ‘paneuropean power provider’, by the inexperienced power transition.
For the following few many years power safety will move from a huge transition, as COPs assembly yearly will set the tempo of it, even when the ‘part out’ of fossil gasoline won’t be executed quickly. The power safety will want diversification, resilience, transparency and integration, as it is going to advance not by extra autonomy and self sufficiency however by extra cooperation. It might not be attainable to increase renewable power on the scale and velocity wanted if every nation attempt to produce and devour solely inside its borders. Subsequently, once more Azerbaijan involves play a elementary function of connector between Europe and Central Asia, as its inexperienced transition may go hand in hand with the inexperienced transition in Central Asia.
Azerbaijan has an amazing potential in renewable power, specifically offshore wind and low-carbon inexperienced hydrogen, however the path for its inexperienced transition continues to be lengthy. In 2019 95% of Azerbaijan’s electrical energy got here from pure gasoline, hydropower 4%, and only one% renewable. Underneath the Paris Settlement on local weather change the nation has dedicated to a 35% emission discount goal by 2030 in comparison with the bottom yr of 1990. On the latest COP 28 Azerbaijan dedicated to renewable power sources goal of reaching 30% by 2030, and goals for a big discount of greenhouse gasoline emissions by 40% by 2050. This consists of the institution of a inexperienced power zone within the Karabakh and Easter Zangezur liberated areas. Specifically Azerbaijan is planning tasks for 25 GW in electrical energy capability primarily based on renewable power with the expectation of exporting most of this electrical energy.
The potential of renewable power sources of Azerbaijan, that are economically viable and technically possible, is estimated at 27 000 MW, together with 3 000 MW of wind power, 23 000 MW of photo voltaic power, 380 MW of bioenergy potential, 520 MW of mountain rivers. However in line with an evaluation of the World Financial institution Group, the technical potential of offshore wind power within the Azerbaijani a part of the Caspian Sea is gigantic, as it’s estimated at a complete of 157 GW, together with 35 GW in shallow water and 122 GW in deep water.
Relating to the cooperation with the EU, in December 2022, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Hungary made an settlement on strategic partnership for inexperienced power, to construct in 3-4 years 1000 km for 1000 MW electrical cable from Azerbaijan to Romania, with 2 billion Euros from EU. That is the primary of presumably many different tasks that may very well be executed with the EU. For instance on inexperienced hydrogen Azerbaijan may export to the EU between 50-100 thousand tons (250-500 USM$ a yr, in line with Boston Consulting Group).
Additionally the Caspian area and Central Asia has super wind, photo voltaic, hydropower potential for regional and world power wants. EU launched the World Gateway Initiative on Water, Vitality, and Local weather in Central Asia, exhibiting its dedication to supporting the inexperienced transition on this area. As some students argue, the EU may strengthen Central Asia’s resilience, prosperity, and regional cooperation within the inexperienced transition specializing in these key sectors.
Central Asia is on a path of regional integration, by the Group of Turkic States, the Central Asia Regional Financial Cooperation (wherein additionally Azerbaijan and Georgia are current) and different regional organizations, in an effort to keep away from spheres of affect from Russia and China. With this purpose, to connect with the European continent by the Center Hall, could be an essential asset, not just for commerce but in addition to develop the renewable power nice Central Asian potential.
Europe has a World Gateway challenge, as different to Chinese language Belt and Highway Initiative, to encourage hyperlinks, not dependencies, with nations within the Eurasian continent, with a finances of €300 billion between 2021-2027 for connectivity tasks, notably within the digital, local weather and power, transport, well being, training and analysis sectors. This might symbolize a door for the elevated function of Azerbaijan as a bridge between Europe and Central Asia.
In response to the EBRD ‘Sustainable transport connections between Europe and Central Asia’, Ultimate Report of June 2023, the transit container visitors can improve by one thing like 4705% by 2040, with spillover results on training, tech-hubs, enterprise and center class growth. The estimated infrastructure investments wanted to enhance Central Asia’s transport connectivity is sort of 20 billion euros, in each onerous infrastructure and smooth connectivity, like digitalisation of customs, border administration, inter-institutionalisation and so forth. This report is essential because it units the tempo for the longer term growth of the Center Hall.
On this plan there may be essential space that needs to be solved, the connection between Turkiye and Azerbaijan although the Zangezur hall. Just lately the nations of Armenia and Azerbaijan declared that they’re getting near peace deal by confidence constructing measures, so the decision of the Zangezur hall could be an essential factor for this.
We’re at a turning level within the South Caucasus and Caspian area, as we’re at a turning level within the relationship between Europe and the remainder of Eurasia.
A stronger integration among the many three Southern Caucasus nations, by the present peace course of between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a stronger cooperation between EU with Azerbaijan, by Türkiye, and a stronger connection between Europe and Central Asia, once more by Azerbaijan, would give extra stability to worldwide system, serving to on the similar time the assist to the South Caucasus regional integration and the European reference to Central Asia, to keep away from on this method Russian-Chinese language future hybrid warfare, specifically within the energy-resources safety nexus. To extend cooperation with Azerbaijan the EU can take into account completely different methods. Listed here are some potential ultimate suggestions for them:
1. Growth of the Southern Gasoline Hall: as some students argued there are nonetheless some points to resolve, like long-term gasoline sale/buy agreements must be signed, numerous agreements required to extend the capability of the TAP and TANAP gasoline pipelines, and adequate gasoline reserves may even must be developed in Azerbaijan.
2. Renewable Vitality Investments: efforts ought to give attention to investments in renewable power tasks, know-how switch, and data sharing. This may be facilitated by joint analysis initiatives, funding funds, and coverage dialogues.
3. Infrastructure Funding: assist and spend money on important power infrastructure tasks that improve connectivity between Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Europe. This might embrace interconnectors and transit routes that enhance the move of power and items from Central Asia, Caspian area and Azerbaijan to European markets.
4 EU may create a brand new ‘complete of presidency strategy’ platforms (much like the one in all US, C5+1 Diplomatic Platform) between Central Asia, South Caucasus, and EU, for higher coordination to facilitate future dialogue and power cooperation throughout the broader Black Sea and Caspian Basin. It is a essential level as new agreements can result in elevated integration and growth within the area.
5. Capability Constructing and Training: EU may present coaching packages, scholarships, and workshops to reinforce the talents of Azerbaijani professionals in areas corresponding to power administration, renewable power applied sciences, and sustainable growth.
6. Funding Promotion: each side can work collectively to establish funding alternatives, funding promotion initiatives, handle regulatory obstacles, and create a positive atmosphere for international investments, exploring new oil and gasoline fields, in addition to investigating different sources corresponding to hydrogen manufacturing and storage
7. Political and Diplomatic Engagement: common dialogues, high-level conferences, and diplomatic efforts may help construct belief, handle considerations, and make sure the dedication of each events to a long-term power partnership.
General, by adopting a complete strategy that features infrastructure growth, regulatory alignment, safety cooperation, and diplomatic engagement, the EU can improve its resilience in opposition to potential hybrid warfare threats within the energy-resources safety nexus and strengthen ties with Azerbaijan and Central Asian nations.