Abstract Hoch

EU Strategy towards Post-Soviet De Facto States

Tomáš Hoch

Abstract: De facto states constitute an interesting anomaly in the international system of sovereign states. No matter how long their control of claimed territory has lasted or how effective their capacities to provide governmental services to its population are, they fail to achieve international recognition. In the post-Soviet space, this is the case of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. Popescu (2007) defines the EU’s interests in relation to these de facto states in three ways: reducing (fi nancial) dependence on Russia by diversifying development opportunities, strengthening the EU’s reputation and spreading of European values, creating links between conflicting parties and promoting their mutual reconciliation. Current EU strategy toward unrecognized states is based on strict emphasis on the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. This is expressed not only in public statements by leaders of the EU member states, but also in the absence of European Neighbourhood Policy Action plans for de facto states. Based on secondary literature and fi eld research I claim, this policy leads to a low level of development opportunities for the de facto states through foreign direct investments, international trade, development aid or remittances. These external factors of development should play an important role in fulfi lling the EU’s desired goals. It is worth considering whether the current EU strategy towards de facto states in post-Soviet space is appropriate and if it would not be better to replace it with another one, which would more likely support the diversification of development opportunities of de facto states, would contribute to peace negotiations of protracted conflicts and which would be more suitable for promoting EU values and interests in this part of the world.

Keywords: De facto states, EU strategy, development, European Neighbourhood Policy, Post-Soviet area