This page was archived on October 2020.


Eastern neighbourhood

51 - Resolution of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia dispute

Grade: C
Unity 3/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 8/20
Scorecard 2010/11: C+ (9/20)

The EU’s undeclared aim is to re-freeze the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but it lacks a conflict-resolution strategy. It didn't persuade Russia to abide by the Medvedev–Sarkozy ceasefire agreement. 

The EU’s goal is to maintain stability in Georgia through diplomatic efforts and a civilian mission monitoring the security situation around the secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With a heavy Russian military presence in the secessionist region, the Medvedev–Sarkozy ceasefire agreement that put an end to the Russian–Georgian war of 2008 remains unimplemented. Yet the EU only formally pays lip service to the need to implement it, and has not put real diplomatic weight behind it. The EU largely accepts that the status quo around the conflict zones is likely to remain so for a very long time, and tries to ensure that the situation on the ground is largely stable.

At the beginning of the year, as part of the streamlining made possible by the creation of the EEAS, the merged the previously seperate posts of Eu Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus and for Georgie. In September, the EU appointed Philippe Lefort, a French diplomat, as the new EUSR for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia. Russian–Georgian tensions over the conflict zones delayed Russia’s accession to the WTO, which was dependent on Georgian consent. Towards the end of 2011, Georgia and Russia agreed on a compromise solution which would see a Swiss private company monitor trade flows via South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The EU was a strong diplomatic supporter of such a compromise. But besides maintaining stability on the ground around the conflict zones, the EU lacks other clear and sustainable policy goals. The conflicts have become less and less of a priority for member states, which do not want to hamper their bilateral relations with Russia because of the conflicts in Georgia.