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The Resource Curse; Resource Nationalism Cycle and EU External Energy Relations in the Caspian Sea Region

Ed Stoddard

While the effects of both the resource curse and resource nationalism are well documented phenomena in the former Soviet Union (Tsalick, 2003, Meissner, 2010; Kennedy, 2010; Overland, Kjaernet amp; Kendall-Taylor, 2010), the explicit cyclical relationship between the two is seldom stated in the literature on oil politics and very rarely discussed in the context of EU external energy governance. Resource nationalism and the resource curse however are mutually reinforcing and both represent significant obstructions to the attainment of core EU energy and general policy objectives in the Caspian region. This paper considers the extent to which EU policy in the Caspian is designed to mitigate these two interwoven challenges. It argues that while tackling the risk of resource nationalism is a central focus of EU external energy policy, the resource curse often gets less attention, despite being a strong causal factor in resource nationalism. Without addressing both aspects of this complex puzzle, the EU is unlikely to be able to achieve either its long term energy governance objectives or its general foreign policy goals in the region.

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