Kyiv Security Forum

Participants of the roundtable in Odesa discussed security in the Black Sea Region

26 May 2011, 16:07

Participants of the roundtable “Black Sea Region: a Geopolitical Puzzle or High-Priority Area”, which took place in Odesa on Wednesday, May 25, discussed security in the Black Sea region.

The event was organized by Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation within the framework of the Kyiv Security Forum with the support of Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a Project of the German Marshall Fund of the USA.

During the discussion Dr. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Director of Center for International and European Studies, Kadir Has University advised to develop cooperation between the Black Sea region and the other regions.

“Trans-regional cooperation is important. It is important to link regions (Mediterranean and Black Sea regions)” – he said.

He also noted that the Black Sea region is not a high-priority region neither for the EU no for the US. “Actually it is for the other stakeholders like Russian Federation”, - said Dr. Triantaphyllou. He also stressed on the fact that there is ongoing process of marginalization of the region.

Dr. Pal Dunay, Director of International Training Course in Security Policy, Geneva Center for Security Policy (Switzerland) speaking on the region in context of “Cold War” and modern international relations mentioned that the Black Sea region always was and is an interesting laboratory. “There are many challenges in the Black Sea region but very few of them can be regarded as antagonistic except some territorial disputes”- he said.

According to his words energy security is a major source of the conflicts in the region. “Only limited trust to Russian Federation as a source of energy resources and to Ukraine as a transit country exists”,- mentioned Dr.Dunay.

Mr. Julian Chifu, Director of Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Center (Romania) named 3 main threats to security of the Black Sea region. “3 challenges exist in Black Sea region: frozen conflicts, terrorism in wider Black Sea region and Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol”,- he said.

H.E. Mr. Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, Secretary General of the Permanent International Secretariat, BSEC noted that “we are now at the phase of putting the connecting points together in the Black Sea region”. He also warned about possible conflicts in Europe: “what happened in Northern Africa is possible to happen in the EU: Greece is going to explode, Spain is going to explode”.

Mr. Mykola Sunhurovskyi, Director of Military Programs, Center of Economic and Political Research named after Razumkov noted that the Black Sea region has not been formed as a geopolitical integrity yet.

“Countries have more common problems then interests, which increases competition on access to resources rather then contributes to establishing the full-scale partnership. This is a strong withholding and obstacle in terms of realization of regional integration projects”, - said the expert. He also believes that the approaches to resolution of one of the most serious regional challenges – “frozen” conflicts - should be changed: emphasis should be shifted from the self-proclaimed states to the questions of improving living standards of population, democracy strengthening.

“The Black Sea region with its significant resources and development potential is at the same time a zone of instability, threats and risks, which creates challenges for their (resources and potential) utilization”, - summed up Mr. Sunhurovskyi.

Dr. Ognyan Minchev, Director of Institute for Regional and International Studies (Bulgaria) was pessimistic about the role of small states within the security dialogue in the region. “We can hardly speak about the Black Sea region in terms of security – it was disintegrated during the last years… The US partially is withdrawn from the Black Sea region… NATO is not an option anymore”, - he noted.

The expert believes that the EU without enlisting for enlargement has no real instrument to assist countries with transformation. He also doesn’t consider the EU’s Eastern Partnership Program to be a real instrument due to lack of finances.

Panayotis Gavras, Head on Policy and Strategy, The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (Greece) believes that improving business environment is a key task for the region. He proposed to concentrate discussion on the following question: can regional cooperation help economic growth?

Ambassador at Large of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andriy Veselovskyi also supported this opinion. He noted that the emphasis should be made on economic dimension in the regional cooperation. Ambassador considers it to be a factor that can become a driving engine for the development of the Black Sea region.

Ambassador Veselovskyi also asked experts to concentrate efforts on the existing regional structures instead of creating new ones.

We would like to remind you that you can read analytical materials, developed exclusively for the roundtable at:

Summary of the Black Sea Security Round Table within the framework of Kyiv Security Forum "Black Sea Region: A Geopolitical Puzzle or High-Priority Area?"

Agenda of the Black Sea Security Round Table within the framework of Kyiv Security Forum "Black Sea Region: A Geopolitical Puzzle or High-Priority Area?"