Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow Borut Grgic was interviewed by Aliyah Fridman of Azerbaijan’s News.Az on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Don’t you think that the EU could and must be more active in the resolution of the Karabagh conflict?

The EU should start by having a common set of principles that outline its position on the frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus – respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty are two fundamentals. The EU could use the Eastern Partnership track and its dialogue framework with Armenia to insist on a withdrawal of forces from Azerbaijan. Finally, Europe could help with institution building and peacekeeping in NK after a peace deal is reached.

France as it seems is not quite active as a co-chair of the Minsk group. May be it would be more useful to change to a representative of the EU in the Minsk group?

Replacing the French co-chair with an EU co-chair is not really an option. However, the EU can and probably should insist on more coordination between the French co-chair and the EU ministers on fine-tuning a common EU position, and use the French co-chair to exert greater influence on the Minsk Group process.

What kind of influence did the war in Georgia have on the settlement of Karabakh conflict?

If anything, the war in Georgia raised the profile of the frozen conflicts, and the urgency to find a solution for NK.

Do you think a real new war between Azerbaijan and Armenia is possible in the near future?

I don’t think a war between the two countries is likely, as there is too much at stake and once a war is launched, the ability to control the outcome decreases exponentially. However, I do think that the status quo is equally as damaging, and it is a real set back to regional development and integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures.

There is no common view in the EU of Karabakh conflict. Is it a common problem of the EU’s foreign policy or something else?

I think Europe has a common position on NK, but perhaps the vagueness of this common position is a reflection of divisions within the EU on Europe’s relations with Russia, and through that, the region. Some states are overly sensitive to Russia’s bickering and unwilling to engage in the Caucasus-Caspian region for fear of undermining their economic relations with Russia. It is possible to say that EU’s common foreign and security policy is more often than not the expression of a compromise between 27 opinions. Thus, it is not realistic to expect the same clarity and focus on difficult issues from Europe as you’d get from a state.

Borut Grgic, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, is the founder and chairman of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Brussels.