The EU's agenda in promoting multilateralism faces a few challenges in the eastward direction. The Caspian Sea basin, which has been acquiring increasing importance for the EU in the context of energy, above all gas, supplies from the Caucasus and Central Asia, represents a complex mix of states with different histories, identities, regimes, centeres of gravity and regional ambitions. Unlike the Black Sea basin, where the EU has developed the Black Sea Synergy policy, none of the Caspian littoral states is an EU member and this has led to a lack of EU interest in and commitment to the promotion of multilateralism in the area. Thus, in spite of significant energy security interests, the EU lacks the will, the capacity or the consistency to address regional security issues or promote reform. Indeed, economic interests are inevitably likely to clash with the reform promotion objective.
Revised version of a paper prepared within the framework of the EU4Seas project “The EU and sub-regional multilateralism around Europe’s closed seas: the Baltic, Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea Basins”.