In the Caucasus Region, power has traditionally been a complex mix of countries’ geography, resources, military capabilities and economic importance. Yet trade and trading routes are often underestimated as a driver for security and stability. Economic interdependence, commonly accepted as a gateway to a politically stable region, can only be fully achieved with well-designed and well-functioning trading routes.
The East-West Corridor is designed for civil and commercial transport and is recognised as the shortest, and arguably the safest, land route for the transport of goods from China to Europe. The current transport time of 60-70 days can be reduced to one-third or even more. In addition, it is an important entry point and transit space for the Southern EU Energy Corridor, and it ensures NATO with a transit corridor for troops, weapons and supplies into Afghanistan.
Key to several energy projects, the corridor can encourage further investment in the region that will serve to link countries and help solve the equation of resources for the EU and NATO countries. In turn, this economic activity and common projects could settle unresolved conflicts in the area.
EURACTIV invited key stakeholders to this high-level workshop to discuss the strategic regional importance of the East-West Corridor and its future potential. Questions included:
- How can the corridor help foster good relations, peace and stability in the Caucasus and Central Asia and solve cross-border political issues?
- How will the corridor encourage further economic progress in the region?
- What new investments in energy infrastructure projects can the corridor support?
- Which countries are geopolitically important as regional hubs of the corridor?
- What potential exists for the establishment of new ports and other transport hubs as the corridor develops over time?
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