Structur Strategie Marea Neagr

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                                                         By Adrian SEVERIN, MEP
               Chairman of Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee,
                                                                      the European Parliament

Objectives of an EU Strategy for the Black Sea
        The Black Sea region is one of the areas in which the European Union has become
a direct relevant actor, especially after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU on
the January 1st , 2007. Until now, the policy of the European Union has been to create a
synergy between the actors in the region in order to foster cooperation and development.
        Strengthening the role of EU in the Black Sea Area involves a shift from the
synergy stage, which seeks to improve coordination between common elements of its
bilateral ENP Partnership agreements and focuses on concrete measures and projects, to
building a strategy creating a common future for the region, in which the European Union
is an important but equal partner. To this end, an European Union Strategy for the Black
Sea can only be set to:
      Identify main risks and threats to security, by referring both, internal and external
      Identify actors in the area and their interests, thus reflecting both, internal and
         external aspects of cooperation;
      Identify available resources of the European Union in order to fulfil its objectives;
      Identify mechanisms or even create necessary instruments and institutions for
         implementing the Strategy;
      Establish priority areas where the Union‟s efforts and those of its external partners
         must be concentrated;
      Create a framework for establishing a roadmap for implementing the Strategy.

I. What is the Black Sea Region?

Geographical definition
        The Black Sea region is the geographical space in the proximity of the
homonymous sea. The Black Sea itself is a geographical unit with a total surface of
436,400 sq km, a maximum depth of 2,212 m and a maximum east-west length of 1,175
km. It is an almost closed sea bordered by land in all directions, most of it of a
mountainous nature, such as the Pontic mountains to the south, the Caucasus to the east
and the Balkan mountains to the west. To the north, there is a wide continental shelf with
significant natural resources.

        However, the Black Sea communicates with the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic
Ocean via the Bosporus Strait, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. Also, it
communicates with the Sea of Azov, to the north, through the Kerchi strait.
        There are six countries directly bordering the Black Sea from west to east:
Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Turkey. Apart from these, there are also
some countries which are considered riverain states, due to access to rivers, which drain
into the Black Sea or due to close proximity to the area, such as Greece, the Republic of
Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Ethno-Cultural definition
        From an ethno-cultural point of view, the region is an authentic mosaic of peoples
and cultures. At a broader level, the peoples living around the Black Sea belong to the
Indo-European group (those to west and north), the Altaic group (to the south) and the
Caucasian group (to the east). Within the Indo-European group the most important sub-
divisions are between Slavic peoples (eastern branch – Russians, Ukrainians, southern
branch – Bulgarians), Latin peoples (Romanians), Hellenistic peoples (Greeks) and Iranian
groups (Ossetian). Within the Altaic group, which is dominated by Turkic peoples, the
most important are the Turks and the Azeris (one can also add the minority groups of the
Gagauz, Karachay-Balkar, Crimean Tatar and Krymchak). Within the Caucasian group, the
most important part is made up of Georgians, but also of Abkhazians, Chechens, Ingush,
Adyghe and Kabardian.
        From a religious point of view, most of the peoples around the Black Sea are
Christian Orthodox, with a significant Muslim presence in the south of the region and,
also, Mosaic minorities. The Christian Orthodox is divided into three main groups: the
Old-Rite Orthodox Churches (Russian, including Ukrainian and Moldovan, Georgian),
Eastern Autocephalous Orthodox Churches (Romanian, Greek and Bulgarian) and the
Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian). The Muslims are divided into the Sunni
(majority in Turkey) and Shi‟a (majority in Azerbaijan). The Mosaic communities can be
found among the Jewish communities around all big ports of the area or among the
Krymchak Tatars.

Geo-political concepts
        Unlike the geographical and cultural concepts, which are mostly descriptive, the
geopolitical concepts have an obvious functional dimension, synthesizing the interests of
those creating them.
        In the 19th century one can identify a constant interest of the Russian Empire for the
control of the Black Sea region, especially of the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits; in
order to fulfil this objective, several conflicts with the Ottoman Empire took place. As a
conceptual aspect, Russian interest for controlling the Black Sea basin was a subsection of
the ideological theme of the Third Rome, by which Russia claimed to be the heir of the
Byzantine Empire.
        After the First World War the Lausanne Convention (July 1923) provided for a
demilitarization of the Straits and freedom of navigation for all commercial ships.
Subsequently, the Montreux Convention (1936) legally consecrated the establishment of a
de facto Russian-Turkish dominion over the Black Sea, Turkey being able to limit access
of military ships in war time.

         In the Cold War period, even if the Black Sea region was a space of conflict
between the Warsaw Treaty Organization and NATO, the Black Sea basin was
undisputedly controlled by the USSR and its allies.
         The re-occurrence of strategic visions concerning the Black Sea region, after 1990,
was determined, on one hand, by the advancing Euro-Atlantic border towards Central Asia
and, on the other hand, by the relocation of the world conflict centre from Europe (as it
happened during the Cold War) to the Middle East and Central Asia.
         The NATO and EU enlargements to the east implicitly meant questioning the
“Russian lake” status of the Black Sea. The Russian Federation included the Black Sea
region in the much broader concept of “near abroad”, a space in which it envisaged,
through several official documents, to ensure “control” and “supremacy”. Also, after the
accession to power of President Vladimir Putin and building of the strategy to re-launch
the Russian Federation with the support of efficient energy policies, Russia developed
projects to manage an essential space for energy corridors, such as the Black Sea basin.
         In 2004, American political analysts Ronald D. Asmus and Bruce P. Jackson
launched into debate the concept of “Wider Black Sea Region” (WBSR). The region
includes, together with NATO Members States (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey), those which
are CIS members, from the North Pontic area (Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation,
Ukraine) to which we must add the ones from the South Caucasian space, also CIS
members (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia). References to the wider Black Sea region must
include both the energy route linking the Euro-Atlantic corridor from the Caspian space,
supplier of these resources, and a broad circle from the north and east of the area, including
great river axes and commercial roads – Danube, Dniestr, and Dniepr. To the south and
east WBSR connects with the space of the Greater Middle East and Central Asia, to the
west with the Balkan region. Also from an American perspective, during the Bush
Administration period the concept of a Greater Middle East was invented, which includes
countries in North Africa, Middle East and Persian Gulf, reaching to Afghanistan. Thus,
WBSR is located in the close neighbourhood of the Greater Middle East or is even a part
of it, through the Caucasus. During the Bush Administration it did not become clear if
WBSR has a specific identity or is subordinated to the political-military logic embedded in
the concept of Greater Middle East.
         After becoming a riverain party to the Black Sea, through Bulgaria and Romania,
the European Union set to create in the region a synergy among actors, without explicitly
assuming a strategy with geopolitical dimensions. In the Black Sea Synergy, the Black Sea
area is defined as a “distinct geographical area rich in natural resources and strategically
located at the junction of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East”. The novelty of the
European concept consists in the fact that, while having a traditional presence in the
region, it associates to the synergic process another non-riverain Member State - Greece.
         The essential question is: does a Wider Black Sea Region exist? History designated
the region as being a simultaneous confrontation and collaboration space of contacts and
permanent exchanges between different peoples and civilizations, between Europe and
Asia. In geopolitical terms two axes could be identified, that is, North-South (Russia-
Armenia-Iran) and the East-West Axis, including via the Caucasus and the Black Sea
essential energy resources from the Caspian region destined to the European Union.

        From the short presentation of the geopolitical conceptualisation thematic in the
Black Sea area one can draw a few essential observations:
        a) The Black Sea is not a region but the meeting point of several other regions (the
Balkans, South Caucasus, Asia Minor, Crimea etc.) each having its specificity and internal
coherence, being inhabited by peoples who traditionally were landwards and not seawards
        b) The Black Sea is the crossing point of few major routes for the transit of
strategic commodities (routes uniting the Far East with Central and Western Europe and
Scandinavia with the Mediterranean);
        c) The Black Sea is the clashing point of the major Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian
global players‟ interests;
        d) The Black Sea is by tradition the central object of the global players' peripheral

A possible operational concept of the EU
        The achievement of an European Union strategy for the Black Sea region also
implies drawing an operational concept from which such a strategy could start and which it
could use to describe its space and problems.
        The geopolitical WBSR (Wider Black Sea Region) concept, intensely used during
the last years, has as a main advantage the fact that it integrates spaces and problems which
can be found, from a functional point of view, in the geographical area of the Black Sea, as
well as its frequent use in the public space (with an already acquired notoriety). The main
disadvantage of WBSR is that, in the original (American) version, it was meant to support
a secondary or even peripheral strategy of a global actor.
        The solution for including the EU interests (implicitly, the interests of the Black
Sea riverain EU Member States) – and NATO‟s interests – in a strategic concept is to use
the model of a concept with variable geometry, whose architecture is built according to
available instruments in order to tackle the political, economic-social and security
problems of the area. The geopolitical concept of the European Union (and NATO) could
also be called “Wider Black Sea Region”, with the notable difference that the layout of
actors within the area is not casual but is conceived in concentric circles:
     The core is embodied by the community pillar of the European Union, with the
        Council-Commission-Parliament triangle;
     The first circle: candidate and associate countries;
     The second circle: countries integrated in the European Neighbourhood Policy;
     The third circle: the Russian Federation as a Black Sea riverain state and Strategic
        Partner of the European Union;
     The fourth circle: the United States of America as a Strategic Partner of the
        European Union, but having only secondary interests in the Black Sea Area;
     The fifth circle: countries in regions neighbouring WBSR or having a significant
        influence over it (Middle East, North Africa).

       The arrangement of circles is made up according to two criteria: i) different
connection / integration to Union policies, related to the EU capacities to mobilize
resources and develop policies in order to defend its interests, that is, for a resolution of
WBSR problems; ii) the interest of countries in the 2nd to 5th circles to enter into synergic

relations with the European Union, around exclusive issues related to the Black Sea
        The main advantage of the concentric circles variable geometry concept is
represented by its flexibility, that is, the easy identification of actors that can be co-opted
for the achievement of a policy, according to their interest, availability and resources.

II. Actors and interests in the Extended Region of the Black Sea

Internal actors
        Within the Extended Region of the Black Sea there are four types of internal actors:
a) the EU Member States (Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania), b) the candidate, associate or
cooperation partners (Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova), c) the European Neighbourhood Policy
partners (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), d) the Russian Federation.
        In the case of Bulgaria, the long coastline allowed a significant development of
international tourism. The commercial activity is also important, through the two main
ports of Burgas and Varna. If Varna is the eastern terminal of the AMBO pipeline going to
Vlore in Albania, through the FYR of Macedonia, Burgas is the terminal of the Burgas-
Alexandroupolis pipeline, destined to bring Russian oil to the Mediterranean.
        Even if it does not have a direct Black Sea coastline, Greece has a long tradition of
close relations with the Black Sea coastline dating from the 8th century BC, when several
Greek colonies were established all over the Black Sea coastlines. Until 1920, there was
even a massive presence of Greek population on the northern coasts of Turkey. Greeks
were particularly involved in the trade relations of the area, insuring good connections
between different parts of the region. Presently, even if it does not have the same
prominent role, Greece is still an important actor in the area, a significant part of its
domestic population originating in the Black Sea area. Greece is also projecting a part of
its economic strategic interests in the Black Sea area.
        Romania is defining itself as “Central European state with strategic interest in the
Black Sea area”. Since its establishment as a sovereign and independent state at the end of
the 19th century, it was endowed with a significant Black Sea coastline which prolonged its
Danube access and sea connection with the rest of the world. Control also included the
Danube Delta, an area of rich wildlife and vegetation. The main port established by
Romania on the Black Sea was Constantza, which became one of the most important
Romanian cities and a significant port (with two maritime terminals). A large share of
Romania‟s commercial exchanges takes place through Constantza port. Also the southern
part of the Romanian coastline is an important tourist venue especially for Romanians. An
important asset in this area is also the vicinity of important hydrocarbon resources on the
continental shelf near the Romanian coastline.
        One of the most important countries in the region, which also has the status as an
EU candidate country since 1987, is Turkey. Turkey has an important demographic asset
in its growing and young population, fuelling a strong economy. Also, the country has a
huge maritime potential, especially with the port-city of Istanbul (three maritime
terminals), which is situated on both sides of the Bosporus straits. Apart from that the
Turkish Black Sea coastline offers little environment for tourism and rather more for trade,
mainly through the small ports of Trabzon and Samsun, and fishing.

        Turkey as a NATO member is one of the actors, which was involved to a large
extent in the regional cooperation within the Black Sea area. It supports the principle of
responsibility of regional actors in the management of security problems in the area. Also,
Turkey is one of the most important transit areas of the Caspian oil and gas towards
Europe. This is largely facilitated by its Mediterranean broad exposure and transport
        Along the northern coasts of the Black Sea lies another important actor in this
region having the status of associate country with the EU - Ukraine. Historically, the
Ukrainian state has had a brief existence, both during the Middle Ages and in present
times, being independent only since 1991 (it was, however, a founding member of the UN
in 1945, as a Soviet republic). Thus, the Ukrainian nationhood is still young and depends
largely on the traditional influences of its major neighbours, Poland and Russia.
        Nevertheless, Ukraine is a country of an important size, densely populated and
endowed with significant natural resources, both in the subsoil and on land. Its Black Sea
coast has an important tourist and economic potential. The major ports, Odessa (with three
maritime terminals) and Sevastopol, ensure the maritime trade necessities of the country.
However, the presence of the Russian military fleet of the Black Sea in Sevastopol is still a
contentious problem, hindering the country‟s maritime potential. Moreover, the Black Sea
region of Ukraine is a place inhabited by several ethnic minorities of the country, including
        Although it has not direct access to the Black Sea, the Republic of Moldova is a
country that can be included among the actors in this extended region, as it has access to
the Danube, one of the main tributary rivers of the Black Sea, through the river port of
Giurgiuleşti, and it also has signed a Partnership for Cooperation and Association with the
EU. Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, having a certain agricultural
potential. Its development was affected by the Transdniestrian conflict and the loss of
sovereignty over some of its eastern administrative units, including those with most of the
country‟s industry, as a result. Moldova‟s main interest in the Black Sea region is, first, to
be included and then to involve the countries in the region in the resolution of the
Transdniestrian issue. There is also a trade interest but it is still diffuse and inconsistent.
        In the case of Georgia, the maritime potential is higher, but it is still affected by the
Abkhazia conflict, occurring in the very coastline region, with the important port of
Sokhumi. A relatively young nation, Georgia has gained its independence in 1991 and has
ever since had a tense history, marked by civil unrest and separatist ambitions of the
Abkhazian autonomous republic and of the autonomous regions of Adjaria and Ossetia.
Thus, its development has suffered major setbacks. However, in recent years, it has drawn
attention by its transit potential for oil and gas pipelines coming from the Caspian region,
as an alternative to the Russian pipelines. Therefore, its interest has been to ensure on its
teritory a proper access to the remaining functional maritime port of Batumi, in Adjaria,
and to build a new one in Supsa.
        Armenia is a particular case, being a landlocked country, depending on relations
with its neighbours. Unfortunately, these relations are not very good, especially with
Azerbaijan, due to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and with Turkey, due to historical
circumstances. Armenia is a poor country with few natural resources, but with a strong
Diaspora in the western countries and in Russia. Its interest concerning the Black Sea area
is to be included in the future prosperity area linked to the European Union.

         In what regards Azerbaijan, it benefits from important oil resources, which has
contributed to its transformation into an “oil emirate”. Although it has no direct access to
the Black Sea, it is involved in joint transit routes with Georgia concerning the oil and gas
pipelines coming from the Caspian area. Moreover, Azerbaijan is keen on becoming one of
the oil sources for these pipelines. Its internal stability is a guarantee for this status.
         The most important internal actor in the Black Sea area is Russia. Through its
continental extent and world interests, based on a historical evolution, Russia can have a
decisive say in the area, even if its direct access has been diminished after the break-up of
the Soviet Union. Russia‟s ambitions to play an important role at the Black Sea can be
traced back to the times of tsar Peter the Great (1703-1725), who was the first to realize the
importance of sea access and control of maritime routes for the development of trade and
prosperity of the Russian state.
         Nowadays, Russia has only one important port on the Black Sea coastline, at
Novorossiysk. It serves as a maritime terminal, especially for the Russian oil coming from
the Caucasus region. In the future, its is envisaged that it will also host the Russian military
fleet of the Black Sea, nowadays camped in Sevastopol. Also, the region has an important
tourist potential, with the city of Sochi, which will also host the Winter Olympic Games of
2014. For Russia, the Black Sea represents a marginal but still significant channel of
maritime communication and economic relations with the rest of the world, taking into
account that most of its access to other seas and oceans is usually blocked due to freezing
during winter time (for example the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Kaliningrad, the
White Sea in the North-West, the Arctic Ocean, the Ohotsk and Behring Seas in the Far
East and partially the Sea of Japan in the same area).

Out of area actors
        The most important 'out of area' actor in the Black Sea region are the United
States. As a global power, the United States have interests in almost all parts of the world,
acting as a stimulus for the opening of regions which have important natural resources and
for their integration into the world trade network. In the Black Sea area, the United States
also promote the values of democracy and human rights towards countries which have
previously had autocratic and totalitarian experiences. In what regards the economic value
of the area, it is seen by the United States as an important transit route for energy supplies
coming from the Caspian and Central Asian regions. Therefore, they are mainly interested
in securing the main transit routes in this area, using various methods, going from alliances
and strategic partnerships to amiable relations and short-term common interests.
        The main instrument for the US policy in the region is NATO. The new NATO
geostrategic concept considers the Black Sea as one of the areas directly affecting the
security of its Member States (as Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania are also NATO members,
and Georgia and Ukraine have special cooperation relations with NATO) and insists on the
necessity of preserving security (including the field of energy) in the area.

III. WBSR – between cooperation and conflict
        Traditionally, WBSR behaved as a space in which conflict moments alternated with
collaboration moments. Almost all the state actors of WBSR acknowledge the existence of
a minimal set of risks, vulnerabilities and threats in the region directed against countries in
the area:

Non-conventional threats and non-state actors
        There are virtually no objections in considering the Black Sea region as an area
where classical security threats are obsolete and most security risks belong to the new non-
conventional threats and to the non-state actors, which profit from the policy of problem-
states and from the institutional incapacity of fragile states – going towards the model of
weak or corrupted states.

Failed/Fake States
        Problem-states are mainly characterised by their refusal to play by the rules –
showing a direct or implicit support of terrorism, tolerating trafficking (human beings,
arms, drugs, smuggling) or helping in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
(NBC – nuclear, bacteriologic and chemical). Weak, collapsed or institutionally corrupt
states either cannot control this phenomenon on their territory – specific to the first two
cases – or they turn a blind eye due to financial advantages resulting from the
administrative corruption or from the “interested partnership” between state bodies and
dealer or terrorist groups. Among these failed / fake states or "state entities", not
recognised by the international community, Transdniestria might be mentioned or, more
recently, Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Frozen Conflicts
         They represent a major distinct element of the area, since we witnessed their
possible warming up and freeze at any moment, as well as the sine die postponement of
their resolution. The EU and NATO, as actors in the Black Sea area and in the Wider
Black Sea Region, pretend a change in the negotiation mechanisms according to new
realities, hoping for new arguments and solutions. Concerning the frozen conflicts, there
are also other two categories of risks. The first is represented by the accumulation of
important piles of weapons in the region, stored in old arsenals in former Soviet military
bases or produced in regions outside the control of the responsible states, in separatists
regions, thus raising the problem of arms traffic in war zones or in area under international
embargo. The presence of the Russian troops and military bases in the region, Russia's
withdrew from the CFE Treaty, the non enhancement of Russia's commitments taken in
Istanbul within the OSCE Summit Declaration (1999) are perceived as the origin for the
second category of risks.

       Moldova and the conflict in Transdniestria
        The conflict began in the spring of 1992 and the armed hostilities ended in June
1992 with a ceasefire mediated by Russia. The situation concerns the Moldovan territory
east of river Dniestr, which is controlled by a separatist regime located in the town of
Tiraspol and which does not recognize the authority of the Moldovan state. The regime in
Tiraspol is not internationally recognized but has been accepted as part in negotiation since
the beginning of the crisis. Also, a significant contingent of Russian troops is still stationed
in Transdniestria
        The authorities in Chisinau tried to accommodate the Transdniestrian regime by
offering a broad autonomy to the region, by the Law concerning Transdniestria’s
autonomous status within the Republic of Moldova, but the proposal was rejected by

Tiraspol. In spite of multiple attempts of finding a solution (especially from Russia,
Ukraine, EU and the US), the situation remains in contention.

       Conflicts in Georgia
        Since its declaration of independence, Georgia has gone through a period of
internal unrest and separatist problems. In 1991, the former Soviet autonomous republic of
Abkhazia, situated in the north-west of the country, on the Black Sea shore, with the
capital at Sokhumi, has declared its independence. After a period of military confrontation
(1992-1993), resulting in the displacement of more than half of the republic‟s population,
which took refuge in Russia and Georgia, a ceasefire was signed in 1994, after which the
situation lingered until the present day. Russian troops are maintained in the region as
peace-keeping forces. Recently, there was sporadic fighting between Georgian and
Abkhazian troops.
        Also, in 1990, the South Osetia autonomous region situated in the mountainous
northern region declared its independence. Fighting lasted until 1992, when the parties
agreed to a ceasefire and deployment of Russian peace-keeping forces in the region. The
situation remained unchanged until August 2008, when Georgian troops unsuccessfully
tried to regain control over region. As a result of the crisis, Russia has unilaterally
recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Osetia. Georgia opposes the situation
and offers to the two breakaway territories only a broad autonomy.

       Nagorno-Karabah – the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan
        The conflict started in 1987-1988, as a result of the loosening of Soviet central
control over the Union republics, which has allowed a broader autonomy for the latter but
also an increasing tendency towards devolution in the case of autonomous regions. As
being such an autonomous region within Azerbaijan, but populated by an Armenian
majority, the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed independence of the territory in
1991. The following conflict lasted until July 1994 and officially involved military
contingents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the breakaway region. Russia acted as a mediator
of the ceasefire, alongside with the OSCE (the Minsk group).
        The situation remains the same since 1994, with joint Armenian and Nagorno-
Karabakh forces occupying the region and the adjacent territory, covering 14% of the
territory of Azerbaijan and Azeri forces concentrated on the ceasefire line.

       Russia and the conflict in Chechnya
        The conflict in Chechnya officially represents an internal problem of Russia but
with an influence over the stability of the whole wider Black Sea area. As a former
autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Socialist Federation, Chechnya refused to
become part of the new federation in 1991. The administration in Moscow tried to
accommodate the situation peacefully at first, but then deployed military forces in the
region (1994-1996, 1999-present) to fight the separatist regime, considered to be terrorist
in nature. Presently, there is an official Chechen administration, supported by Moscow,
and an unofficial separatist regime fighting a guerrilla warfare against Russian troops,
supported by Islamic fundamentalist militants from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
Palestinian territories, Pakistan a. o.

The Energy Issue
        The Black Sea region has a great strategic importance as it is an area of energy
production and transit which can ensure a part of the alternative energy supplies for the
European Union. The EU policy in this field, highlighted in the Black Sea Synergy is based
on several initiatives such as the Baku Initiative, which aims at better cooperation
between the countries in the area and the EU for insuring the common energy security, the
INOGATE (INterstate Oil and GAs To Europe pipelines) programme, which ensures a
structured plan of energy transit between Central Asia and the Caspian Sea and the EU
member states and the TRACECA (TRAnsport Corridor Europe Caucasus Central Asia)
programme, concerning the development of transport infrastructures (road, railways, air
and sea traffic) between Central Asia and Europe. These initiatives constitute the central
axis of the European policy in the region, beside the other various pipeline projects.
        Out of these projects, the most important is the Nabucco, which aims at connecting
the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline with the European route on the territories of
Romania, Hungary and Austria. This project would join several companies, such as OMV
(Austria), MOL (Hungary), Transgaz (Romania), BOTAŞ (Turkey), RWE (Germany) and
SOCAR (Azerbaijan). In practice, though, the project‟s main competitors are the versions
of the Russian company Gazprom, known under the names of Blue Stream (envisaging a
submarine gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey and a land gas pipeline through
Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary) and South Stream (implying direct maritime
transport to Bulgaria and a land pipeline through Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Austria).
        Concerning the oil pipelines, the main itineraries available in the Caucasus region
are Baku – Tbilisi – Supsa, Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan, Tengiz – Novorossiysk and
Mahachkala – Grozny – Novorossiysk. These itineraries correspond to various
alternatives on the other side of the sea: Odessa – Brody – Plock, Constantza – Omisalj
– Trieste, Burgas – Alexandroupolis, Burgas – Vlore and Samsun – Ankara.
        The Baku-Tbilisi-Supsa pipeline became operational in 1999 and its main
beneficiaries were Azerbaijan and Georgia. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline connects
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and it became operational in May 2006. The main
investors are British Petroleum (United Kingdom), SOCAR (Azerbaijan), UNocal Corp.
and Chevron (USA), Statoil (Norway), TPAO (Turkey) and Eni (Italy). There are four
possible correspondences of this pipeline on the other shores of the sea: Odessa – Brody –
Plock, which became operational for its Odessa-Brody sector in 2002, with the support of
Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia; Constantza – Omisalj – Trieste, which is only a project
and would connect Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy; Burgas – Vlore, which is
also a project, known as AMBO, and would connect Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania;
Samsun – Ankara.
        The Mahachkala – Grozny – Novorossiysk pipeline was built in order to
transport oil from the Caspian area to the Black Sea shore. It has a superior capacity
compared to the Baku-Supsa pipeline and its correspondence on the other shore of the sea
is intended to be the Burgas – Alexandroupolis pipeline. The latter, which was a project
since 1991, will connect Bulgaria and Greece and will be built from private funds. The
main investors in this project are the Russian companies Trasneft, Rosneft and Gazprom.
        There is also another pipeline, which is already operational (since October 2001),
between Tengiz (Kazakhstan) and Novorossiysk. It is administered by the Caspian
Pipeline Consortium (CPC), a joint venture between Russia and Kazakhstan.

       The Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline was built in the period 2002-2005 by
a consortium made up by British Petroleum (United Kingdom), SOCAR (Azerbaijan),
Chevron (USA), StatoilHydro (Norway), TPAO (Turkey), Agip (Italy) and Total (France).
The BTC pipeline is supplied by oil from Azerbaijan‟s Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in
the Caspian Sea via the Sangachal Terminal. It ensures the access of Caspian oil to the
Mediterranean Sea.

        As we can notice from the brief presentation of the energy issue, it represents both
the fundamental conflict element and the highest cooperation potential. The main projects
concerning the Black Sea basin are in fact related to the energy issue; the Russian
Federation wishes to create alternative corridors to those crossing Ukraine. The European
Union is, in its turn, vitally interested to avoid being caught in the middle of conflicts
between Moscow and Kiev ( as it happened in 2006 and 2009), by building a transit
network meant to ensure its energy security. The Nabucco project has a central role within
this objective of the European Union.

IV. The Need for a Strategy of the European Union. Solutions of the
Strategy: initiatives, mechanisms, policies

The main WBSR initiatives after 1989
         After the end of the Cold War, within the Black Sea region several regional
cooperation initiatives emerged, generated either by local actors or sponsored by the
United States, as a method of promoting its interests in the region, as a counterbalance to
structures having as key-element the Russian Federation (Commonwealth of Independent

    Organization         Establishment       Member                    Objectives
                              date            States
Black Sea Economic        4 June 1992,       Albania,        - Inter-governmental
Cooperation (BSEC)          Istanbul         Armenia,        cooperation (through the
                                            Azerbaijan,      Ministerial Council);
                                             Bulgaria,       - Inter-parliamentary
                                             Georgia,        cooperation (through the
                                              Greece,        Parliamentary Assembly of
                                             Moldova,        BSEC);
                                             Romania,        - Financial and commercial
                                           Russia, Serbia,   cooperation (through the
                                              Turkey,        Black Sea Trade and
                                            Ukraine (12)     Development Bank and the
                                                             Association of Chambers of
                                                             - Business cooperation
                                                             (through the BSEC Council
                                                             of Businessmen);
                                                             - Working groups in the fields

                                                        of energy, tourism, science
                                                        and technology, health,
                                                        transport, electricity,
                                                        investments, industrial
                                                        cooperation, economic
                                                        statistics, agriculture,
                                                        environment and legislation
  Black Sea Naval       2 April 2001,     Bulgaria,     - Naval cooperation between
 Cooperation Task         Istanbul         Georgia,     Participating Nations;
      Group                               Romania,      - Search and rescue
(BLACKSEAFOR)                           Russia, Turkey, operations;
                                         Ukraine (6)    - Humanitarian assistance
                                                        - Mine-counter measures;
                                                        - Environmental protection
                                                        - Goodwill visits
 Black Sea Border         2004,           Bulgaria,     - Improvement of export
Security Initiative /    Bucharest         Georgia,     border controls;
  Border Defence                          Moldova,      - Countering proliferation of
Initiative (BSBSI /                       Romania,      weapons of mass destruction
        BDI)                             Ukraine (5)    in the Black Sea area;
                                                        - Critical information
  Community of          2 December         Estonia,     - Promoting democracy and
Democratic Choice       2005, Kiev         Georgia,     rule of law;
     (CDC)                                  Latvia,     - Defending human rights;
                                          Lithuania,    - Frozen conflict
                                         Macedonia,     management;
                                         Ukraine (9)
Black Sea Forum for     6 June 2006,      Armenia,      - Fostering synergy, enhance
  Partnership and        Bucharest       Azerbaijan,    confidence building and
  Dialogue (BSF)                           Georgia,     facilitate achievable regional
                                          Moldova,      projects that address genuine
                                          Romania,      regional needs;
                                         Ukraine (6)    - Open-ended dialogue
                                                        among state bureaucracies,
                                                        institutions, governments,
                                                        academia and civil societies
                                                        of regional countries;
                                                        - Transforming the entire
                                                        region into a zone of secure
                                                        sovereign countries, sharing

                                                              viable market economies,
                                                              enjoying open and responsive
                                                              systems of government;
                                                              - Promoting good
                                                              governance, strengthening of
                                                              tolerance and non-
                                                              discrimination, civil society
                                                              empowerment of the youth
GUAM Organization          7 June 2001,      Azerbaijan,       - Promoting democratic
 for Democracy and             Yalta          Georgia,        values, ensuring stable
      Economic                                Moldova,        development, enhancing
    Development                              Ukraine (4)      international and regional
                                                              security and stepping up
                                                              European integration;
                                                              - Inter-governmental
                                                              cooperation (through the
                                                              Council of Ministers of
                                                              Foreign Affairs and the
                                                              Committee of National
                                                              - Working groups in the fields
                                                              of power engineering,
                                                              transport, trade and
                                                              economics, information
                                                              science and
                                                              telecommunications, culture,
                                                              science and education,
                                                              tourism, the struggle against
                                                              terrorism, organized crime
                                                              and dissemination of drugs

Values promoted. Interests defended
        In the wider Black Sea area the EU promoted mutual commitment to common
values mainly within the fields of the rule of law, good governance, the respect for human
rights, including minority rights, the promotion of good neighbourly relations, and the
principles of market economy and sustainable development. Commitments should also be
sought regarding certain essential aspects of the EU‟s external action, including, in
particular, the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
as well as abidance by international law and efforts to achieve conflict resolution.
        The Wider Black Sea Strategy‟s vision involves a ring of countries, sharing the
EU‟s fundamental values and objectives, drawn into an increasingly close relationship,
going beyond co-operation to involve a significant measure of economic and political
integration. This will bring enormous gains to all involved in terms of increased stability,
security and well being.

        For the European Union WBSR has the significance of an area in which the former
has essential interests, both due to its direct affiliation and to its immediate neighbourhood.
The fields in which the European Union has essential interests in the WBSR, by promoting
and defending them (see Black Sea Synergy), are:
         Democracy, respect for human rights and good governance;
         “Frozen” conflicts;
         Energy;
         Transport;
         Environment;
         Maritime Policy;
         Fisheries;
         Trade;
         Regional Development;
         Employment and social affairs;
         Research and Education Networks;
         Science and Technology (S&T).

EU resources, instruments and policies for implementing the Strategy
        In order to implement the Strategy for the Wider Black Sea Region we can identify
the following main resources, instruments and policies:

a) Enlargement
         The process of the EU enlargement to the post-communist space was the main
instrument through which the Euro-Atlantic community promoted its values and interests.
Enlargement cannot function anymore as main instrument in the WBSR, as only some of
the countries in the area simultaneously fulfil three conditions: i) they wish to become EU
Member States; ii) the Union is capable to assimilate new Member States; iii) the countries
fulfil the Copenhagen criteria. Enlargement remains a distinct collaboration path within the
ENP. Presently, only Turkey has the status of a candidate state for accession to the
European Union. As well, during the EU-Ukraine summit held on September 9th in Paris
was agreed that Ukraine and the European Union will sign a future “Association
Agreement”. The summit declaration "acknowledged Ukraine's European aspirations" and
stated that the new treaty "leaves open the question of further, gradual development of the
EU-Ukraine relations." This framework provides also Ukraine wit a "de facto" statute of
potential candidate for the European Union.

        The change of enlargement paradigm in Eastern Europe, from NATO- EU into EU-
NATO or EU only, necessarily imposes the adoption of more pregnant and visible role by
the Union in initiating and consolidating the security sector reform. From this point of
view, the EU should introduce in the formal criteria body necessary for opening accession
negotiations (Copenhagen criteria) the indispensability of achieving a security sector

b) Partnership

         Throughout the modernization process of the countries in WBSR, in order to create
a stability area in the EU neighbourhood, several instruments were or are still used:
          Individual, general or sector agreements, between Member States and ENP
          Individual agreements between the European Union and the partner states in the
             ENP, which include a series of instruments (common strategies; partnership and
             cooperation agreements – PCA; action plans) and missions (EUBAM; EUJUST
          Regional approach of cooperation: TACIS, TRACECA, INOGATE, and more
             recently the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership.

One can notice that the current EU commitment in the WBSR envisages the following aspects: use
of economic security instruments, such as development and assistance programmes; political
dialogue with each state in the region; support for the democratization process, especially using
economic means and offering assistance for justice reform; assistance offered to national
authorities for increasing efficiency in fighting organized crime and strengthening border security.

c) Strategic Partnership
       The recognition of the key-partner role of the Russian Federation in the relations
with the European Union is consecrated by the Strategic Partnership. In all four
cooperation spaces there are elements related to the extended problematic of the WBSR.

d) Collaboration with other institutions and organizations
       The European Union used the principle of complementarity and coordination both
with the Council of Europe and with the OSCE in the relations with WBSR countries.
       A potential that was underexploited is collaboration between NATO (Partnership
for Peace) and the European Union, within the ESDP-ENP framework, on the basis of à la
carte multilateralism. Collaboration between the United States and the European Union in
the WBSR could therefore be developed on the basis of such a principle.

V. Regional operational initiatives and mechanisms for a successful
construction in the Black Sea area

Building an EU identity in the Black sea region

The solidarity among the Member States and their political cohesion are the elements that
will provide EU‟s relevance in the Black Sea region. These elements should become the
foundation of a consistent EU initiative leading to a projection of its political will in the
Black Sea basin.
The European commitment for multilateralism, the principle of “unity in diversity”, and
the social model are the main ingredients for the Europe‟s “soft power”, providing with an
extraordinary attraction for the neighboring people and states – a remarkable instrument for
the EU political action in the world and especially in the above mentioned area.

Extending a previous observation, the Wide Black Sea Region has a series of
characteristics that influence all the possible regional initiatives:
a) The Black Sea is not a region but the meeting point of several other regions (the
Balkans, South Caucasus, Asia Minor, Crimea etc), each having its specificity and internal
coherence, being inhabited by peoples who traditionally were landwards and not seawards
b) The Black Sea is the crossing point of few major routes for the transit of strategic
commodities (routes uniting the Far East with Central and Western Europe and
Scandinavia with the Mediterranean);
c) The Black Sea is the clashing point of the major Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian global
players‟ interests;
d) The Black Sea is by tradition the central object of the global players' peripheral
e) Among the global players only two (Russia and EU) are riverine states of the Black Sea
and, from these two, only one (EU) has vital interests (in terms of energy security) in that
f) The local players have neither the capacity nor the intention to take the lead in
integrating the region (whose identity was defined in an ambiguous way by the global
players in accordance with their accessory interests), they being more inclined to play the
role of privileged spokespersons of the global players;
g) In security terms, the local protagonists of the Black Sea region are Russia and Turkey;
h) In economic terms, the Black Sea region is characterized by several overlapping
i) In terms of de facto politically relevant partnerships, one could note the triangle Russia-
Germany-Turkey, whose members try to coordinate their interests, and the triangle
Romania-Georgia-Ukraine, whose members have vital interests in the area, but only speak
for the US subsidiary interests;
j) Against this background, the EU needs to transform its present synergy policy into a
strategy, eventually served by a specific political instrument (a political super-structure like
a Union for the Black Sea); this might imply the transformation of the triangle Russia-
Germany-Turkey into the triangle Russia-EU-Turkey, within the EU component the main
engine being Germany and the main advanced posts being Romania and Bulgaria (all the
EU Member States with vital interests in the region).

   A. Russia, EU and Turkey - a cooperative troika for the Black Sea zone

    The EU and Russian share common interests, but are facing as well an increasingly
close interaction. The EU‟s eastern enlargement extended the length of the EU-Russia
shared border and contributed to the EU‟s active role in the post-Soviet space. Trade
between the EU and Russia is growing rapidly (by 25.7% in 2006) and the EU is now
Russia's main trading partner, accounting for more than half of its overall trade. Russia is
the major external energy supplier to the European Union, accounting for over 25% of its
oil and gas deliveries. The EU remains Russia‟s most important energy export market.

    Russia‟s relations with the EU are based on the Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement (PCA) that took effect in December 1997. While Russia opted out of the
European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the framework of the four Common Spaces was
agreed upon as the basis of the EU-Russia strategic partnership in 2003. (Negotiations on
the new EU-Russia agreement that will replace the current PCA started in June 2008.)
    After Moscow made its protectorate over Abkhazia and South Ossetia official, after a
number of Russian outposts in the Southern Caucasus were acknowledged and after
controversies deepened over the presence of the Russian fleet in the Ukrainian port of
Sevastopol, the EU and Russia virtually found themselves face to face at the Black Sea.
    In such condition, Europe needs to assume that its relationship with Moscow will be
competitive, especially when it comes to the countries in between the EU and Russia - the
common neighborhood (what is usually called “neighborhood” by the Europeans, and
“near abroad” by the Russians); but such a fact should not rule out an increased co-
operation: Europe and Russia continuing to trade and address shared concerns.

    On the other side/ shore, Turkey‟s candidacy has ensured that the southern shore of the
Black Sea is within the European space. In this sense, it has already been argued, that the
EU is in effect already a major Black Sea player.( Mustafa Aydin, „Europe‟s Next Shore:
the Black Sea Region After EU Enlargement‟, EU-ISS Occasional Paper 53, June 2004.)

    The German Presidency initiated and supported in 2007 the development of the first
EU instrument dedicated to the Black Sea area, namely the Black Sea Synergy, “that
entered into in-depth discussions about the development of a strengthened and coherent
EU engagement towards the region. (...) It was and is our (EU) aim to give a regional
dimension to our policies towards individual Black Sea states and to promote regional
cooperation around the Black Sea, together with our partners in the region.” (Speech by
Gernot Erler, Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office at the Conference
on "Turkey and Black Sea Regional Cooperation", 29 May 2008)
    However, the proposals included in the Synergy were too diverse, addressing all the
topics on the regional agenda, but not providing any consistent solution.

    Against this background, the EU needs to transform its present synergy policy into a
strategy, eventually served by a specific political instrument (a political super-structure
like a Union for the Black Sea). This might imply creating a trilateral cooperation
structure Russia-EU-Turkey, within the EU component the main engine being
Germany and the main advanced posts being Romania and Bulgaria (all the EU
Member States with vital interests in the region).
    The EU should take advantage and benefit from the experiences accumulated by
some of its Member States in this area. Germany succeeded to build extremely
successful relations with all the countries in the region and especially with Russia,
while Italy and Austria with their historical tradition of diplomacy in "Oriental
Europe" have as well an important contribution to bring onboard.

   B. Stability Pact for the South Caucasus – a step towards a Commonwealth of
      South Caucasus

    At the peak of the Russia-Georgia conflict, on 13 August 2008, the Turkey circulated
plans to create a so-called Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact that would include the
three South Caucasus countries plus two regional heavyweights, Turkey and Russia. While
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe first proposed a Stability Pact for
the South Caucasus in the late 1990s, such an idea, in fact should not be considered as a
new one.
    Turkey appears determined to go ahead with the plan, which has been already
discussed in separate talks with Russian, Georgian, and Azerbaijani officials. Ankara has
much to achieve from the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact. Such an association
would improve its diplomatic influence in the part of the world, which gradually becomes
more important -- giving it a valuable opportunity to promote its lasting aspiration to join
the European Union. Reducing tensions in the South Caucasus would, by extension,
protect Turkey's vast trade and energy interests in the region.
    Such an initiative for Caucasus faces serious difficulties: a) the relations between
Moscow and Tbilisi are at a historical low, following the last year's conflict in August; b)
Armenia and Azerbaijan are blocked in a clash over Nagorno-Karabakh (while Moscow
helped the Armenian side in the war that broke out in the enclave in the early 1990s,
Turkey has traditionally supported Azerbaijan, with which it shares strong ethnic and
religious ties); c) Turkey itself interrupted the diplomatic relations with Armenia due to the
Nagorno-Karabakh standoff and Yerevan's demands that Turkey recognize as genocide the
mass slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

    Against this background, the most important goal for the EU should be the
establishment of a South Caucasian Commonwealth preceded by a Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Caucasus. This Commonwealth should follow the EU
model of integration, should enjoy internationally guaranteed neutrality and should enter a
strategic partnership with the EU.
    On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while deciding that Azerbaijan should be its first
partner in South Caucasus (Armenia already being the ally of Russia and Georgia the ally
of US), the EU must combine:
- A political action for the observation of the principle of territorial integrity (in association
with the internal self-determination);
- a substantial economic and financial support meant to transform Azerbaijan into a
prosperous neighbour of Armenia, the latter seeing more advantages in the access to the
former's wealth than in military uphold of its territories;
- the involvement of Turkey in this process as a test for its capacity to become a reliable
member of the EU;
- the perspective of a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus leading to the establishment of
a South Caucasian Commonwealth (following the EU model).

    In order to support this effort politically, the EU should also establish an International
Troika for the Stability Pact formed by EU, Russia and Turkey (all neighbouring states of
the region). Abkhazia and South Ossetia could enjoy the status of autonomous republics
within the Commonwealth.

   C. Ukraine – its European perspective and its role in the Black Sea

    Ukraine is extremely important to Europe, while it is the continent‟s seventh most
populous state, with a population bigger than in Spain or Poland; some 80% of Russia‟s
gas exports to the European Union go through Ukraine and a stable government in Kyiv
would give the EU‟s Members peace of mind while they want a strong and stable
    At the same time, the EU is trying to help Ukraine to develop a stable political system
in the last several years, while the EU Member States have deployed civil servants at
various ministries in Kyiv by helping to train the new administrative elite; but despite the
relatively intense co-operation with the European Union, Ukraine has made little progress
towards Europeanization. Similarly with the other former Soviet republics, which have
enjoyed over 15 years of self-rule, Ukraine remains considerably poorer and less politically
stable than the Central European countries that joined the EU in 2004-2007.
    The most important challenge in the present Eastern neighbourhood of the EU is the
achievement of the territorial, cultural, economic and political cohesion of Ukraine.
    To this end, the constitutional restructuring of the country is urgently needed, as well
as the economic integration, political association and institutional convergence of Ukraine
with the EU. At the same time and against that background, clear prospective for the EU
membership of Ukraine are of paramount importance.
    Ukraine needs to see doors that are open rather than shut even though they may not be
locked. At the same time, Ukraine needs to demonstrate greater resolve and unity in
pursuit of its aims. The Ukrainian democracy is still trying to find its way, but it is
constantly consolidating by a strong and developing civil society, including an energetic
media. This is a remarkable achievement and in deep contrast to the societies in some
other former Soviet countries where it has become increasingly starved of the oxygen of
debate. Yet Ukraine‟s leaders must recognise there are nevertheless limits to the political
divisions that Ukrainian society can tolerate. Pursued to their extreme, these also have a
strongly negative impact on the efforts of Ukraine to draw closer to western institutions.

    Ukraine had to face few disputes in relation to its geographical location and presence in
the Black Sea:
    a) ICJ in The Hague recently delivered its verdict concerning the case that brought
       Romania and Ukraine in front of the Court in order to determine the two countries‟
       maritime boundaries in the Black Sea. Both sides saluted the decision,
       demonstrating that they share a security culture, and the common interests will
       prevail in the coming years, as Ukraine seeks to pursue its course of integration into
       the Euro-Atlantic structures.
    b) Ukraine is vulnerable to external pressure generated by the presence of the foreign
       troops on its territory (the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol), and, according to polls
       and decisions of the regional assembly, parts of Ukraine - particularly Crimea -,
       show a serious lack of solidarity in relation with the authorities in Kyiv. Such

      elements might be exploited in order to deter Ukraine from pursuing the Euro-
      Atlantic structures membership.
   c) The repeated incidents related to the interruption of the gas supply for the EU
      Member States underline few important aspects: the fragility of the relations
      between Ukraine and Russia; the fluctuant boundaries between the commercial
      dimension and the political dimension in a dispute that was supposed to be just
      business related; and the necessity that the EU would act, equally involving the two
      actors, in building a reliable, stable and predictable partnership, avoiding future
      situations where Europe becomes hostage in similar disputes.

    Ukraine‟s ability to stand alone in the Black Sea area and, in general, on the global
political scene, being able to make its own choices is essential for the future regional

    The EU should provide itself with a political instrument for promoting its interests in
Ukraine. This instrument could consist in a Trilateral Advanced Partnership between
Ukraine-Poland-Romania. Such a partnership could assure the necessary links between
Ukraine and the EU through an effective and real European approach aiming at an organic
European integration of the Ukrainian society (civic and multicultural nation).
    As well, a trilateral cooperation instrument should be initiated among the European
Union, Russia and Ukraine - An Energy Community. Such a construction will prove the
good will of all the three partners, it will constitute a guarantee that any future strategies in
the energy security sector do not aim to the exclusion of any of the three partners or it is
not designed against anyone of them. Such an initiative could cover as well aspects such as
mutual free market access, technological cooperation, transparency of transit arrangements
and other commercial and technical arrangements.

   D. Moldova - between Transdnistrialization and Europeanization

    The EU has gradually increased its political and economic co-operation with and
assistance to the Republic of Moldova in the years. Actually Moldova is one of the top
beneficiaries in the Eastern Neighbourhood in terms of the EU financial assistance per
    The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan provides Moldova with a
general framework and priority areas for reform agenda. The major current projects aim to
strengthen the democratic institutions and public administration, to support the civil
society, human rights and freedom of media, to reform the social assistance and
educational system, and to improve the border control and management.
    The EU Border Assistance Mission in Moldova and the Ukraine is evaluated as a
success story, even if there is still room for the EU to be more active. The EU should
expand its policy of engagement beyond the scope of the border management.

    An important aspect in relation with this neighbouring country is that the conditionality
principle for Moldova‟s European quest must be put forward more clearly when the EU
has a clear perspective of Moldova‟s future.

    It is necessary, as well, to have a more active involvement of the EU in the
Transnistrian conflict settlement, which would also require more active policy stances and
cooperation with Russia (within the framework of the EU-Russia relations) and, especially,
the Ukraine. Such a mechanism should be developed by avoiding the impression that it is
more important to co-operate with Russia than with its Eastern Neighbours (ex.Moldova).

    Within the context of its emerging strategic partnership with Russia and the permanent
dialogue in the framework of ENP with Moldova, the EU might push a plan consisting in:
- the separation of the Transdnistrian problem from Moldova by placing the secessionist
region under “an international protectorate” exercised jointly by the EU and Russia with
the scope of its decriminalization, demilitarization and democratization;
- such an initiative should come up simultaneous with the opening of the EU for
Moldova‟s membership discussions (accompanied by a joint action plan concerning the
proper and fast preparation for accession);
- a final decision on a status of Transdnistria should be taken by referendum after
Moldova's accession to the EU; thus, the mission of the above-mentioned protectorate will
be accomplished.

VI. Towards a Union for the Black Sea
More than synergy
Europe's regional cooperation in the Black Sea area is currently framed within the „synergy
initiative‟, which seeks to improve coordination between common elements of it s bilateral
ENP Partnership agreements and focuses on concrete measures and projects. The European
Commission is committed to use the full potential of its synergy initiative and, among
others, wants to use it as a platform to seek peaceful solutions to the frozen conflicts in the
region. At the same time the Commission also admitted to have taken a cautious, even
limited, approach.

The EU must commit itself no less to the Black Sea region than to the Mediterranean,
which necessarily involves the engagement to play a more active role in resolving or
defusing (potential) conflicts in the region. This requires a strategy that creates a common
future for the region, in which the European Union is an important but equal partner.

It is envisaged in a framework for multilateral cooperation that complements the existing
forms of association, offers more opportunities than the Neighborhood Policy to strengthen
political and economic relations with the EU, and clearly goes beyond mere 'synergy'
between existing policies and bilateral cooperation. A Union for the Black Sea should
create genuine partnership, rather than mere cooperation, with a view to tackle common
challenges and to contribute to the resolution of longstanding problems in the region.

Multilateral cooperation and Europe's enlargement strategy
Black Sea cooperation cannot be fully dissociated from the future of the European Union's
enlargement strategy. A „Union for the Black Sea should provide a framework for much
closer relations with the EU than the current (strengthened) ENP for those European

countries that have European ambitions. While not prejudging any possible future
decisions on their membership perspectives, the proposed framework would help to close
the gap between their current status as ENP countries and possible future membership, thus
providing the necessary incentives for their internal reform.

Policy areas and institutional structure
A Union for the Black Sea will need institutional underpinning, which needs to be
relatively light and flexible. It should include a parliamentary dimension to explicitly aim
to contribute to democratization in the region. The initiative should make use as much as
possible of existing structures, like the Organization of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation. The possibilities the Lisbon Treaty offers to create stronger links to the
Union‟s Common Foreign and Security Policy and the policies currently overseen by the
European Commission, should be fully used. A clear link should also be established with
the forthcoming European External Action Service.

Against this background, at a parliamentary level, it is necessary to upgrade the statute of
the European Union in the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), including in the assembly's area of competences the
topics that BSEC do not cover yet but are foreseen to be covered by the Black Sea Union.
Such a development presumes as well that the parliamentary structure of the Black Sea
Union and the one of BSEC to be a commune. As well, the BSEC institutions could be
integrated in the future Black Sea Union, enriching their areas of competences and their
institutional capabilities, aiming to deal, in this new capacity, with the new topics proposed
by the Union.
Concluding, if the Strategy, standing behind the Black Sea Union, needs a institutional
political instrument, having in mind also the regional realities, than that instrument should
be a common organization built by EU and BSEC.

The priority areas for cooperation in the Union for the Black Sea should be commonly
defined to underline the principle of equal partnership. Apart from the areas now covered
in the synergy initiative (currently mainly environment, transportation and infrastructure,
trade and investment) they should include energy cooperation, migration, regional security,
conflict resolution and the fight against terrorism (including judicial cooperation). Finally,
promoting mobility and exchange of students, teachers and researchers would provide a
visible and tangible testimony of the construction of a common area with a common future.


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