Alexey Fenenko: ”The European Parliament struck a blow at the European hopes of Armenia"
Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on supporting the territorial integrity of the Eastern Partnership countries, which, according to the head of the European diplomacy, Federica Mogerini, was adopted as doctrinal, so it is mandatory in the formation of the European Union's foreign policy. The document stresses that the European Union is committed to all the obligations it has undertaken in respect of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the program participants in the internationally recognized borders of these countries. This is a serious statement of the European Parliament against the occupation policy of Armenia on the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by the country. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke about the consequences of this document with an associate professor of the Department of International Security of the faculty of World Politics of the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko.
- Aleksey Valerevich, in your opinion, what does this resolution of the European Parliament mean for Azerbaijan and Armenia as the sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
- I think, first of all, this document is a serious blow to the European hopes of Armenia. Yerevan expected that if it initialed the agreement on the Association with the EU, this would lead to an increase in the EU's support for the Armenian position on Karabakh. As we see, contrary to all Armenia’s hopes, the European Parliament adopted a document opposing directly Yerevan's interests.
-In that case, what are the consequences of this document for Armenia?
- The situation is now that Armenia has worsened the relations with Russia by initiating an agreement with the EU, Yerevan has distanced itself from Moscow, but the country was not able to get a real support from the European Union. It will be very interesting to see what Yerevan will do in the current situation. I think that we should expect that soon a quick reassurance will be given about how much Armenia is traditionally friendly to Russia and seeks to build allied relations with it.
- In your opinion, what could have prompted the European Parliament, which avoids traditionally to support directly the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan due to the Yerevan lobby, to change its position to a more unambiguous and less profitable for Armenia?
- Several things have influenced. First, the traditional oil and gas interests of Europe in the Caspian Sea have not disappeared, for this reason, Azerbaijan is more important for the EU than Armenia. The second, the European Union is not at all interested in fomenting another conflict near its territory, especially on the territory of the Transcaucasus, where it has no opportunity to intervene, unlike Russia and Turkey. The third, the European Union wanted to show Armenia that it should not wait for any special dividends from distancing itself from Russia.
- After adoption of this document, is it worth expecting the EU to be more actively involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, and how can it practically support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan?
- I think that the European Union is not in a good position now, especially taking into account Brexit, to be involved somewhere, since there is an issue of preserving itself as a single entity. Now it's not even clear what will happen to the EU when the UK exits, and thus the EU will lose the key to its economy - the London Stock Exchange. The European Union has feverishly grasped at the Eastern Partnership, due to the fact that several lobbying groups operate in relation to this program, and Germans and Poles are trying to revive it for various reasons. The Western and Southern European countries are indifferent to the countries of the Eastern Partnership since their attention is focused on how to prevent the strengthening of Germany after Brexit.
- How should we assess this resolution of the European Parliament from the point of view of Russia as the main mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement?
- I think that Russia saw once again the fallacy of the European policy of Yerevan. It will be perceived in Moscow with a certain irony that Armenia tried to find an alternative to Russia in the face of the European Union, but received a resolution on the territorial integrity of the Eastern Partnership countries in their internationally recognized borders. Although in addition to irony, this creates a new headache for Russia - how to build relations with Armenia, towards which we have obligations, in a time when Yerevan is trying to switch to the relations with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership not on a pro-Russian basis obviously.
- What kind of reaction to this whole situation is to be expected from Armenia?
- I think that Yerevan will soon make some statement about the CSTO support, of course, until the next ‘carrot’ from the European Union will appear.