Marat Terterov, Geopolitical Forum on Europe's Energy and Foreign Policy after TAP
The EU's Energy Policy does not only consist of its strategies and targets for 2020 and its implications for the EU Common Market -- there is also an external aspect to it: Energy Policy and Foreign Policy are inseparable, especially when it comes to securing Europe's energy supply by geographically diversifying its primary sources of energy.
In order to become less dependent on individual suppliers, the EU's two central energy projects Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline (TAP) aimed to develop alternative supply routes for natural gas from Azerbaijan. Whereas Nabucco West was said to be favored by some EU members states and EU officials, the position changed mid-last year to respect neutrality and focus on the priority of getting gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. Recently, Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz consortium decided to supply the TAP and has already signed a Host Government Agreement with the Greek government. The pipeline will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan through Greece and Albania to Italy, with further potential to extend supplies to Central Europe through either Italy or Switzerland. First gas delivery is expected in 2019.
Energy policy acts as an important element in strengthening and deepening of strategic partnerships and Association Agreements. The EU and Azerbaijan have both expressed their interest to further develop the Eastern Partnership programme, based on mutually reinforcing respect for principles and values.
What are the project's potential economic opportunities for Europe -- for the countries in the region and alongside the pipeline route?