This article looks at the interdependences between the democratisation processes in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh and the management of the Karabakh conflict, focussing on the EU’s democracy promotion policies. The article argues that the EU’s normative foreign policy in the South Caucasus has been limited by the permanence of the protracted conflicts, in two interrelated ways. First, by not addressing the conflicts the EU focused on long-term goals but failed to provide short-term incentives towards peace. Second, by allowing only a limited involvement in the protracted conflicts, especially inside Karabakh, the EU was perceived as a reluctant partner, undermining its normative credentials.

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