The flux that can be discerned in the Black Sea Region is a cause for concern as it finds itself without a commonly agreed framework as to its future. There are numerous factors which define and reflect the current state of affairs, including the disappointment with regionalism or at least in its inability to redefine itself, the lacking attractiveness of the European Union despite its transformative powers, and the prevalent status quo preferences of some of the region’s key stakeholders in spite of the prospect of divergent foreign policy agendas. This troubling situation is compounded by the evolving nature of politics of energy, the gridlock in the negotiations of the protracted conflicts and its linkage to the further militarization of some of the interested parties, and the region’s growing democratic deficit.
This paper examines how region-builders (politicians, think-tank elites, academics, etc.) ‘wrote’ the Black Sea space and what implications this geopolitical exercise had for the region, paying particular attention to the underlying security logics/dimensions of this endeavour and the envisaged solutions to the perceived challenges. The focus is on the loosely coherent set of ‘myths’ surrounding the Black Sea, both as a policy project and a field of academic and policy oriented inquiry, and the objective is to showcase, even indirectly, the interplay between conceptual logic and political practise as well as to highlight the silences and overlooked assumptions omnipresent in the literature.
The 2004–2007 enlargements brought the EU onto the shores of the Black Sea region which is encircled with complex insecurities. Since then, the EU has been actively engaged in developing a vision for this problematic region through the various instruments of enlargement, CFSP/CSDP, European Neighborhood Policy, Black Sea Synergy as well as the Eastern Partnership. This paper aims at analysing the efficacy of EU’s Black Sea policies in providing regional security, with a particular and a comparative focus on the impact of the Synergy as the only genuine regional Black Sea strategy.
Turkey signed two significant energy agreements at the end of 2011. As a consequence, these accords set off a new competition for natural gas-centred energy projects around Turkey. Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Iran and the EU are the main actors of this competition. This paper aims to assess all the related and ensuing developments in the Black Sea Region through the lenses of Turkey’s role in it.
The article assesses the main trends of the various conflict resolution processes in the Black Sea region. It emphasizes the transformation of the mediators’ role, including the increase of the EU efforts in the various peace processes. The author states that the absence of military actions, the narrowness of the existing peace formats and competition between the various mediating parties for leadership lead to the militarization of the region, the absence of the conflicts’ ‘ripeness’, new peace initiatives and an ‘all or nothing’ position on the part of the conflicting parties.