The EU's Black Sea Synergy: results and Possible Ways Forward

24-09-2010

Enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania, as well as lukewarm assessments issued on EU engagement in security issues in its neighbourhood, prompted an enhanced EU involvement around the Black Sea, which had been kept until then in the background of EU foreign policy. The Black Sea Synergy was put forward by the European Commission in April 2007 to increase cooperation with and between the countries surrounding the Black Sea. It was designed as a flexible framework complementary to existing EU policies in the region. Overall, the EU’s engagement in the Black Sea region in general and the Black Sea Synergy’s implementation in particular have been strongly constrained by conditions and factors both internal and external to the Union at the international, EU, and regional levels. However, as a result of its inclusive approach the Black Sea Synergy has the potential to play a useful role in facilitating good neighbourly relations and fostering multilateralism. To improve the Synergy's effectiveness, it is suggested to specify its operational methods (mainly funding and monitoring), to better integrate the Black Sea dimension in EU bilateral relations with partner countries, to further concentrate on a small number of priorities with a view to avoiding dispersion and to systematically promote a grassroots or project-based approach.

Enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania, as well as lukewarm assessments issued on EU engagement in security issues in its neighbourhood, prompted an enhanced EU involvement around the Black Sea, which had been kept until then in the background of EU foreign policy. The Black Sea Synergy was put forward by the European Commission in April 2007 to increase cooperation with and between the countries surrounding the Black Sea. It was designed as a flexible framework complementary to existing EU policies in the region. Overall, the EU’s engagement in the Black Sea region in general and the Black Sea Synergy’s implementation in particular have been strongly constrained by conditions and factors both internal and external to the Union at the international, EU, and regional levels. However, as a result of its inclusive approach the Black Sea Synergy has the potential to play a useful role in facilitating good neighbourly relations and fostering multilateralism. To improve the Synergy's effectiveness, it is suggested to specify its operational methods (mainly funding and monitoring), to better integrate the Black Sea dimension in EU bilateral relations with partner countries, to further concentrate on a small number of priorities with a view to avoiding dispersion and to systematically promote a grassroots or project-based approach.

Autore esterno

Dr. Laure Delcour, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of International and Strategic Relations, Paris - Advisor, Directorate of European Affairs, French National School of Administration Dr. Panagiota Manoli, Lecturer at the University of the Aegean and Research Associate of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)