January 2011

NATO achieves first step on theatre ballistic missile defence capability

NATO’s first ever theatre ballistic missile defence (TBMD) capability has been handed over to NATO’s military commanders. The handover took place at the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany, in the presence of NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, and civil and military authorities from NATO and host nation Germany. The NATO Combined Air Operations Centre demonstrated how this interim capability allows NATO commanders, for the first time ever, to do limited ballistic missile defence planning and exchange information with national ballistic missile defence assets.

Azerbaijan and Eastern Partnership: partnership through empowerment

By Leila Alieva

The Eastern Partnership was only recently given a start, so it would be pre-mature to give prognosis of its future development. However, it seems that to make EaP effective, Azerbaijani civil society should be included into official negotiations at the bilateral level. Otherwise, the Eastern Partnership may transform into a purely Baku-Brussels elites’ interests based enterprise, leaving the needs of the wider population aside. In dealing with Azerbaijan, the EU should also take into account the abundant oil and gas resources which constitute a structural obstacle to democratization in Azerbaijan and contribute to a great alienation of the elite from population. The EU should also get more involved in the resolution of the Karabagh conflict to speed up regional integration in the South Caucasus.

Ukraine between Russia and the EU

By Stefan Meister

The election of Viktor Yanukovych as president of Ukraine caused a return of the traditional ‘rocking chair’ politics between Russia and the EU in their Ukrainian policies, while the basic problems of the country remain unsolved. The Ukrainian elite is itself to be blamed for their country’s desolate economic standing. Russia is trying to take advantage of Ukraine's structural dependency in its economic and energy policy, in order to let its own businesses take over central areas of the Ukrainian economy. The EU, on the other hand, failed to develop any functional Ukraine policy in the past. In order to avoid further political and economic stagnation in the country, Brussels must finally start working out new neighbourhood policy instruments.

Two Lines of “South Stream”

By Tatyana Stanovaya

Longstanding confrontation between Russia and the European Union may end with the uniting of the Nabucco and South Stream gas pipelinesThe idea of possible uniting of two competing pipeline projects – “South Stream” and Nabucco – has been presented again: this was stated by the US Ambassador to Italy David Torn during the interview for Italian newspaper La Stampa. Earlier it was announced by the managers of Italian ENI. Russia treats the kind of prospect more than skeptic, although one shouldn’t ignore that in reality there is no absolute consensus on this issue inside the tandem.