Europe in the World

Defining the Caspian Project


Defining the Caspian: aspirations, opportunities and challenges

25 March 2014


The Caspian is the largest inland body of water in the world, stretching from the shores of the Black Sea to the heart of Central Asia; it is a region rich in energy resources, with huge economic potential, and a meeting point between cultures and civilizations. Given the region’s geographic position between powerful states, for much of its history it has been at the heart of global confrontations.

Today there is still an on-going struggle. Russia remains very present, there is an increasingly powerful China, the EU is trying to make some inroads - Azerbaijan has made it possible for Caspian gas come to EU markets; Turkey is also trying to increase its role and of course there is Iran - isolated but ever present and if normalization takes place Iran’s role can become much more large in scale. Yet this region continues to face a number of significant challenges including economic under-development, security threats/frozen conflicts, corruption, inadequate governance and weak rule of law.

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