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The European Community and the World

A Historical Perspective


Giuliana Laschi

The European Community (EC) has taken on an outward-looking dimension over the years since its first establishment, developing structures and tools which are unprecedented in the history of international relations.
The original signatories of the Treaty of Rome accepted the idea of a «little» Europe only as a first step towards something that would be much bigger and more powerful; ultimately, they wanted to provide the EC with the international power necessary to realize the idea of the common market.
It is not possible to properly define the EC’s actions towards the rest of the world as «foreign policy» in every case and at every stage of its history; nevertheless, the EC has undoubtedly always played a strong and significant international role, even if this role has been expressed in an unconventional way compared to the international system.
This volume on European spaces and borders provides a meeting-point for a number of very different analyses and interpretations, from a variety of disciplinary, chronological and geopolitical perspectives, and in so doing develops a rich and complex debate.
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The Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and the EU’s Foreign Policy in the Region (Gerd Morgenthaler)



Due to its geostrategic position1 and rich natural resources2, the Caspian region has developed into one of the key areas of world politics. Therefore, the ongoing dispute among the littoral states over the legal status of the Caspian Sea has to be regarded as an issue of international concern. As long as the interested powers disagree on the basic questions of whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake and how the existing treaties concluded between the littoral states should influence or amend the general rules of customary international law referring to seas or lakes, there will be no set delimitation of sovereignty over the surface, water column and subsoil. Furthermore, without a definite answer to these basic questions, it will be difficult to achieve any agreement in the subsequent questions of the legal regime,3 ← 93 | 94 → which ought to entail solid solutions for highly political challenges such as military and non-military navigation, the use of natural resources (fishery, but mainly oil and gas drilling, including the laying of pipelines) and, last but not least, effective environmental protection for an extremely fragile ecosystem.

As a close neighbour, the European Union must be particularly interested in the Caspian Basin and its adjacent areas for security reasons, both in the classic military meaning of the term and in a broader sense referring to good governance and the region’s importance for a reliable energy supply. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the EU’s foreign...

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