A 2020 Vision for the Black Sea Region. A Report by the Commission on the Black Sea


Карта Черного моря 1544 г. Автор Battista Agnese, с сайта commons.wikimedia.org

The Commission on the Black Sea, www.blackseacom.eu. The increased geopolitical volatility of the region has proven, time and again, that unresolved issues can ignite into open warfare. Its festering conflicts retard economic development and have the potential to flare up into wider conflagrations. While the opportunity to transfer Caspian oil and gas to European markets raises hopes for regional economic development and prosperity, competition to control pipelines, shipping lanes and transport routes to secure increased political and economic influence, not only throughout the region, but on a global scale, raises the risks of confrontation...

Contents

Why read this Report?/ What is the Commission on the Black Sea?/ Executive Summary / The Report / Introduction: The State of Play / Peace and Security /  Economic Development and Welfare / Democratic Institutions and Good Governance / Regional Cooperation / Conclusions/ Policy Recommendations / The Black Sea in Figures / Abbreviations / Initiators / The Rapporteurs, Editor and Acknowledgements / Imprint/

Why read this Report?

… because the Black Sea matters

The Black Sea region is coming into its own – but it is a contested and sometimes dangerous neighbourhood. It has undergone countless political transformations over time. And now, once again, it is becoming the subject of an intense debate.

This reflects the changing dynamics of the Black Sea countries and the complex realities of their politics and conflicts, economies and societies. Geography, the interests of others and the region’s relations with the rest of the world in large part explain its resurgence. Straddling Europe and Asia, the Black Sea links north to south and east to west. Oil, gas, transport and trade routes are all crucial in explaining its increasing relevance.

In the last two decades the Black Sea has changed beyond recognition.

We have witnessed the transformation of the former communist societies and the impact of globalisation. We have seen a heightened US interest since 9/11, the enlargement of NATO and the EU along its shores and repeated Russian-Ukrainian crises over gas. We have also witnessed the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia followed by its fallout, discussions over the fate of the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sebastopol, the impact of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, developments regarding the conflict in Transnistria, the changing nature of Russo-Turkish relations and finally, the evolving global economic and political landscape as a result of the current world financial crisis. All of these are deeply affecting the region’s stability and in turn, impact global politics.

Its strategic location, between the hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian basin and energyhungry Europe, places the Black Sea in a unique position.

But, while the opportunity to transfer Caspian oil and gas to European markets raises hopes for regional economic development and prosperity, competition to control pipelines, shipping lanes and transport routes to secure increased political and economic influence, not only throughout the region, but on a global scale, raises the risks of confrontation. By the same token, the proliferation of routes while potentially increasing bilateral cooperation at the expense of the regional may, at the same time, result in redundancy owing to too much capacity for not enough gas and oil.

From 2000 until the onset of the world economic crisis, the region had one of the fastest rates of growth in the world. Trade between countries of the region was also on the rise. Since the end of the Cold War it has undergone a fundamental change in terms of economic development and has now secured a place on the global economic agenda.

… because of the lack of real knowledge

The region’s real priorities and needs are still being largely ignored by insiders and outsiders alike.

Despite heightened interest in the area by everyone from oilmen to foreign ministries the Black Sea still does not attract enough attention from those who should be thinking about how the countries of the region can solve their common problems together rather than vying amongst themselves for power and influence. Part of the blame for this can be attributed to the failure of regional actors to produce an agreed vision for the future. The emergence of the Black Sea as a region-between-regions and the conflicting agendas of powerful local and external players distort the necessary regional focus and thus blur outcomes.

For these reasons, the Commission on the Black Sea believes that a reassessment of the region and its problems and priorities, is urgently needed.

New thinking will provide us with a better understanding of what, in the real world, can actually be done. It will allow us to develop innovative approaches to problems, enabling policy makers to enhance the area’s security, stability and welfare. The emergence of a peaceful and cooperative Black Sea region would be of benefit to all. With this in mind, the Commission first presents an up to date picture which focuses on four areas. These are peace and security, economic development and welfare, democratic institutions and good governance and, finally, regional cooperation. It then presents policy recommendations for all stakeholders.

… because immediate action is needed

With its overarching approach, the Commission has sought to promote an inclusive strategy taking into account the needs, priorities and interests of all stakeholders.

For this, the Commission made a conscious effort to listen to all interested parties including civil society. It held meetings in Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin and Commission members also researched and wrote four policy reports to gain as wide a perspective as possible regarding the future. These can be accessed at the website: www.blackseacom.eu.

As a result, the Commission has come to an understanding that the region’s future lies in further democratisation and economic integration with the wider world. It also needs an enhanced sense of security, strengthened political stability, sustained efforts to solve its protracted conflicts and the renunciation of the use of force for their settlement.

The rationale behind the preparation of this report has been the increased geopolitical volatility of the region which has proven, time and again, that unresolved issues can ignite into open warfare. Its festering conflicts retard economic development and have the potential to flare up into wider conflagrations.

They impact regional stability and security and, unless tackled, threaten far greater international ramifications. But it need not be like this. It is the Commission’s conviction that it is realistic to envisage a cohesive, developed, integrated and stable region so long as we take action now.

To do so, we believe that:

The regional actors must renounce the use of force in their political relations and respect each other’s territorial integrity, the inviolability of their borders, international treaties and the rule of law in their dealings.

Interested outsiders must support efforts to secure good governance, the creation of interdependencies and the regionalisation of the Black Sea’s politics and economy.

The international community must encourage cooperative efforts and confidencebuilding measures as well as action in favour of the peaceful resolution of disputes.

… because only a regional approach will work

Black Sea politics work best if the approach is regional. The states in question should be encouraged to seek regional solutions for regional problems and the Black Sea already possesses the institutional wherewithal to address its challenges directly.

However stakeholders must face up to the need to tackle tasks together and allow for non-state actors such as the business sector, NGOs and civil society to play a real role in shaping solutions. In this report the assumption of a “positive sum” approach underlies our vision for the Black Sea.

In other words, we assume that concerned actors are willing to explore “win-win” options that permit the realisation of mutual gains and are not locked into “zero sum” or relativist ways of thinking, in which one party’s gain is automatically perceived as another’s absolute or relative loss.

Mustafa Aydın and Dimitrios Triantaphyllou

The Rapporteurs Istanbul and Athens, May 2010

 

What is the Commission on the Black Sea?

The Commission on the Black Sea is a civil society initiative

developed and launched jointly in January 2009 by The Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh; the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation (BST-GMFUS), Bucharest; the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Ankara, and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens.

The Commission’s work has been supported and complemented by several individuals from different countries, who wish to remain anonymous due to their current official affiliations or for personal reasons.

The names of those members who are willing to associate themselves publicly with this report are listed below. They all serve on the Commission in a personal capacity and this report should in no way be construed as reflecting the views of the states, governments, organisations or institutions with which they are associated.

Although individual members may not necessarily agree with all the analysis and recommendations contained in the report, they support the overall thrust of the project and its conclusions.

Members: Former and Current Policy Makers

Erhard Busek, former Vice Chancellor of Austria; President, EU-Russia Centre, Brussels; Coordinator, SoutheastEuropean Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Vienna

Sergiu Celac, former Foreign Minister of Romania; Senior Adviser, National Centre for Sustainable Development, Bucharest

Daniel Daianu, former Minister of Finance of Romania; former Member of the European Parliament; Professor of Economics, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest

Gernot Erler, former Minister of State of the German Federal Foreign Office; Member of the German Bundestag,Berlin; President of the Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft), Munich

Tassos Giannitsis, former Foreign Minister of Greece; Chairman, Hellenic Petroleum, Athens

Tedo Japaridze, former Foreign Minister of Georgia; Alternate Director General, International Centre for Black SeaStudies (ICBSS), Athens

Suat Kınıklıoglu, Member of Parliament, Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament, AKParty Deputy Chairman of External Affairs, Ankara

Irakli Menagarishvili, former Foreign Minister of Georgia, Tbilisi

Rasim Musabayov, former Adviser on Interethnic Relations to the President of Azerbaijan; Vice-President, Centre forEconomic and Political Research (FAR-Centre), Baku

Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister of Armenia; Chairman of the Board, the Civilitas Foundation, Yerevan

Vladimer Papava, former Minister of Economy of Georgia; Senior Fellow, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), Tbilisi

Volker Rühe, former Minister of Defence of Germany, Hamburg

Özdem Sanberk, former Ambassador and former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Istanbul

Hannes Swoboda, Member of the European Parliament; Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Vice-Chairman,Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Brussels

Borys Tarasyuk, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine; Member of Parliament; Chairman of the VerkhovnaRada Committee on European Integration, Kiev

Yannis Valinakis, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece; Professor of International Relations, University of Athens

Members: Scholars and Practitioners

Franz-Lothar Altmann, Associate Professor for Intercultural Relations, Bucharest State University, Bucharest

Ireneusz Bil, Director, Amicus Europae Foundation of Aleksander Kwasniewski, Warsaw

Mitat Çelikpala, Deputy Dean, Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Economics and Technology, Ankara

Johanna Deimel, Deputy Director, Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft), Munich

Ovidiu Dranga, Ambassador of Romania to Belgium, Brussels

Panayotis Gavras, Head, Policy & Strategy, Black Sea Trade & Development Bank (BSTDB), Thessaloniki

Peter Havlik, Deputy Director, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, Vienna

Jörg Himmelreich, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington, DC, and Berlin

Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute, Yerevan

Tim Judah, journalist and author; Correspondent of The Economist, London

Georgi Kamov, Project Coordinator, Bulgarian School of Politics; Member of the Executive Board, Economics andInternational Relations Institute (EIRI), Sofia

Alan Kasaev, Head of the CIS & Baltic Department, Russian State News Agency RIA Novosti; Co-chairman, Association of the Russian Society of Researchers, Moscow

Sergei Konoplyov, Director, Harvard Black Sea Security Program and US-Russia Security Program, John F. KennedySchool of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge

Andrei Kortunov, President, The New Eurasia Foundation, Moscow

Bruce Lawlor, Director, Center for Technology, Security, and Policy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

Ian Lesser, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington, DC.

Andrei Lobatch, Senior Project Manager, The Foundation for Effective Governance, Kiev

Panagiota Manoli,Senior Research Fellow, International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens; Lecturer, University of the Aegean, Rhodes

Ognyan Minchev, Executive Director, Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), Sofia

Fabrizio Tassinari, Senior Fellow, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen

Yannis Tsantoulis, Research Fellow, International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens

Andrei Zagorski, Leading Researcher and Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow

Steering Committee

Mustafa Aydın, Rector, Kadir Has University, Istanbul; Director, International Policy Research Institute (IPRI) of theEconomic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Ankara

Armando García Schmidt, Project Manager, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh

Alina Inayeh, Director, Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, Bucharest

Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Director General, International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens; Assistant Professorof International Relations, University of the Aegean, Rhodes

Executive Summary

The Black Sea region is a contested neighbourhood and the subject of intense debate. This reflects the changing dynamics of the region, its complex realities, the interests of outsiders and the region’s relations with the rest of the world.

Its strategic position, linking north to south and east to west, as well as its oil, gas, transport and trade routes are all important reasons for its increasing relevance.

Despite heightened interest in the area however, the region’s real priorities and needs are still being largely ignored. In part this can be attributed to the failure of the regional actors to produce an agreed vision for the future.

The emergence of the Black Sea as a region-between-regions and the conflicting agendas of powerful local and external players distort the necessary regional focus and blur outcomes.

Thus, a reassessment of the region, with all of its problems and priorities, is urgently needed. This will provide all actors involved with a better understanding of what can be done, as well as allowing them to develop innovative approaches to problems, thus enhancing the region’s security, stability and welfare. The emergence of a peaceful and cooperative Black Sea region would be of benefit to all.

With this in mind and with its overarching approach, the Commission has sought to promote an inclusive strategy taking into account the needs, priorities and interests of all stakeholders in four essential areas; peace and security, economic development and welfare, democratic institutions and good governance and, finally, regional cooperation. The Commission has come to an understanding that the region’s future lies in further democratisation and economic integration with the wider world.

The rationale behind the preparation of this report has been the increased geopolitical volatility of the region which, in certain places, can ignite at any given moment into open warfare. The area’s unresolved conflicts retard economic development and have the potential to flare up into wider conflagrations.

They impact regional stability and security and, unless tackled, threaten far greater international ramifications.

But it is the Commission’s conviction that it is realistic to envisage a cohesive, developed, integrated and stable region.

To do so:

The regional actors must renounce the use of force in their political relations and respect each other’s territorial integrity, the inviolability of their borders, international treaties and the rule of law in their dealings.

Interested outsiders must support efforts to secure good governance, the creation of interdependencies and the regionalisation of the Black Sea’s politics and economy.

The international community must encourage cooperative efforts and confidence-building measures as well as actions in favour of the peaceful resolution of disputes. Black Sea politics work best if the approach is regional. The states in question should be encouraged to seek regional solutions for regional problems. The stakeholders must face up to the need to tackle tasks together and allow for non-state actors such as the business sector, NGOs and civil society to play a real role in shaping solutions.

Thus the Commission recommends:

A Black Sea Dimension: the 2020 Vision

Creating a new overarching concept and policy, a Black Sea Dimension, by the actors and countries in the region, focusing on the year 2020. Its aim would be to promote regional cooperation while anticipating changes in the neighbourhood. The 2020 Vision needs to be developed into a clear strategy which should mark the culmination of several linked initiatives.

Enhance the profile of Black Sea regionalism

The Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is in need of rejuvenation. Its 20th anniversary summit in 2012 should be an opportunity to renew the commitment of its members to regional cooperation and to inaugurate an overhauled BSEC in order to make it a more relevant organisation with greater clout. BSEC’s rebirth, expanded role and enhanced regional relevance could be symbolised by giving it a new name. A region-wide awareness raising competition could be opened for everyone in the region to suggest a new name for it and to design a new flag and logo.

Deal with the conflicts

Establish a high level consultative group in order to tackle the protracted conflicts and other outstanding issues of the region. A number of confidence-building measures and a structured security dialogue on relevant issues should be established. The feasibility of an international gathering on the Black Sea, preferably at summit level, involving the regional states and international stakeholders, should be the end point for the work of the high level group.

Focus on economic issues that meet common challenges and real needs

The principles of sustainable development should be the guiding philosophy of regional cooperation in the Black Sea area. Rational responses to the consequences of climate change and the responsible use of natural, human and societal resources are essential components of such a development model, which should be translated into coherent policies at national and regional levels. Policies to improve the business environment and facilitate greater economic activity across borders, as well as establishing regular policy dialogues between relevant officials, need to be implemented.

Promote and coordinate regional cooperation schemes at all levels

The coordination of numerous existing cooperation schemes, programmes and initiatives for the Black Sea needs to be taken in hand in order to unleash the full potential of the region. There is also a need to move beyond the common top-down approach to assure that civil society plays a role in the development of the region. Identifying issues which could be better addressed regionally, rather than nationally, is a priority. Lessons should be drawn from the experiences of other areas which have faced or are dealing with similar issues, such as the Baltic, the Balkans, the Danube region and so on.

Promote intercultural dialogue

A clear encouragement and sponsorship of intercultural and interfaith dialogue among the peoples of the Black Sea is needed. Cooperation between universities should be enhanced and more coverage of the countries by journalists from the region, for the region, should be encouraged.

Promote the targeted training of professional groups

There is a need for the targeted training of public servants, diplomats, young leaders, parliamentarians and business leaders throughout the region. The creation of a Black Sea Training Academy would help streamline such a process.

Promote good governance, civil society and social dialogue

The involvement of civil society in policy making and their linkages in relation to good governance should be encouraged. Efforts should also be made to facilitate cooperation between civil society organisations in Black Sea countries including the conflict regions. Business organisations such as chambers of commerce, employers’ organisations and trade unions should also be encouraged to talk to one another in order to find and propose regional solutions for common problems.

continued

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