The EU's Black Sea Policy: Where Do We Stand?

13-09-2013

In January 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the European Commission and the then-soon-to-be-launched European External Action Service to prepare an EU strategy for the Black Sea region. This initiative was meant to dovetail with other EU basin-focused strategies in Europe. Given that the EU's Black Sea Synergy, the ad hoc policy in place since 2007, was being implemented at a slow pace, the Parliament's request was also intended to amplify the EU’s political presence in the region. Today, less than a year before the end of the legislature, the EU Black Sea strategy has still not been drafted. Are the Commission and EEAS simply ignoring Parliament’s political advice? In fact, the reasons for the impasse are multiple, stemming from the complications of the Black Sea region as well as the EU's organisational choices. Ultimately, however, these reasons matter less than the outcome. The EU's Black Sea policy – by definition an inclusive policy – should be advanced under one label or another, as it is neither a threat nor a complement to the Eastern Partnership. Both policies should be developed in parallel. And before the EU advances to a new stage, it should first implement those measures it has promised, but yet to realise.

In January 2011 the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the European Commission and the then-soon-to-be-launched European External Action Service to prepare an EU strategy for the Black Sea region. This initiative was meant to dovetail with other EU basin-focused strategies in Europe. Given that the EU's Black Sea Synergy, the ad hoc policy in place since 2007, was being implemented at a slow pace, the Parliament's request was also intended to amplify the EU’s political presence in the region. Today, less than a year before the end of the legislature, the EU Black Sea strategy has still not been drafted. Are the Commission and EEAS simply ignoring Parliament’s political advice? In fact, the reasons for the impasse are multiple, stemming from the complications of the Black Sea region as well as the EU's organisational choices. Ultimately, however, these reasons matter less than the outcome. The EU's Black Sea policy – by definition an inclusive policy – should be advanced under one label or another, as it is neither a threat nor a complement to the Eastern Partnership. Both policies should be developed in parallel. And before the EU advances to a new stage, it should first implement those measures it has promised, but yet to realise.