Macro-regional strategy of the European Union for the Black Sea

18449366_814763612031202_843163983325618362_oFor several years, international non-governmental level to discuss the possibility of developing and implementing macro-regional EU strategy for the Black Sea[1], which symbolizes term economic and political space around the Black Sea. The last international forum on this topic, called "Varna Forum 2.0" entitled "to reason together", was held in Varna resort Riviera, The golden sands of 13 to 14 May 2017 g. The main issue of discussions at the forum was: "The region of the Black Sea: confrontation or cooperation?

Online, organized by the Foundation "Friedrich Ebert" (Bulgaria), Institute of Economics and International Relations and Foundation cohesive society, attended by a number of MEPs, Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (Num), current and former members of several countries, former Foreign Ministers, diplomats and representatives of research institutes. "Varna Forum 2.0 'adopted its conclusions, who support the idea and provides a procedure for officially launching the proposal to develop the macro-regional strategy of the European Union (EU) for Black Sea. The working language was English Forum, which were previously prepared several documents to facilitate discussion forum. Program saitieto, working papers, Keynote speech by some of the leading penalisti and adopted by the Forum conclusions are reproduced below.

On the substance of the discussion of "Varna Forum 2.0 'should be considered, European Union (EU) introduced the modern concept of regional cooperation between countries in well-defined areas (t.n. "Macro-regions of the EU"), where countries face common challenges of development and cooperation. At the initiative of zainteresovanite member states, The Council of the European Union has approved and CE already implemented four specific strategies for such macro-regions - these are Baltic Sea, River. Danube, Adriatic-Ionian sea basin, and the Alps. These strategies are an integral part of EU policies in several key sectors. In macro-regional cooperation so EU already included 19 Member States of the Union 8 countries, not participating in the EU. Bulgaria participates in the macro-regional cooperation on river. Danube.18489879_814764765364420_6217106076576999592_o

obviously, The EU has serious political and economic interests in the Black Sea region of Europe. They have found expression in EU policy for the Black Sea[2] from 2013 Mr., a number of other sectoral policies Syuaza and its bilateral documents with the Black Sea countries. Discuss opportunities and ways to create a few more macro-regions in the EU, including. such, covering its maritime basins. Arguably, the development of the concept and practice of EU macro-regional cooperation is now in a kind of political progress, stimulated the interest of many countries in such cooperation. as EC, and the Council of the EU monitor and evaluate the implementation of these macro-regional strategies.

In this context,, Varna forum assessed as "favorable to the idea of ​​starting work on establishing the relevance of macro-regional EU Strategy for the Black Sea" the conclusion of the EU Council of 25 April t. Mr., that "The Council remains open to consider any coherent and mature initiative of member states, facing the same challenges in a given geographical area, which is aimed at establishing a new macro-regional strategy of the EU ".

Natural generator process of preparation and eventual official launch of the macro-regional concept for the Black Sea are the three member states in the region - Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. They are directly interested and actively involved in the current formats of regional cooperation in the area under the EU within the framework of BSEC.

Upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union by Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 g. and 2019 g. Discover initiate normal procedure for creating and implementing macro-regional strategy for the Black Sea. The first step is to prepare the demarche of Bulgarian Presidency in the EU Council in 2018 Mr., and the Romanian presidency to continue and complete the EU internal process. Greece already contributes indirectly to the realization of the idea through the work of the Secretary General of BSEC, Mr. Michael Kristidis, former ambassador of Greece in Bulgaria.

The EU internal process could lead to the onset of execution - as early as 2020 g. - macro-regional strategy for the Black Sea, the concrete effects of enhanced coordination and efficiency of the local activities of the new kind of cooperation would be shown under the "European perspective 2030 g ".

The creation of a macro-region of the EU in the Black Sea would result in substantial benefits and important new features of the state of peace, economic and social prosperity, and political stability in regional countries, in particular Bulgaria. These benefits include:

  • Upgrading the current limited in scope and depth of Black Sea Cooperation, applying specific macro-regional concept modern methods of planning and management of sectoral activities, whereupon:
    • Focus on thematic priorities, objectives and sectoral activities, included in the "action plan" with specific criteria for evaluation of achieved results;
    • The cooperation between local actors in the path of holistic integration of additional synergies, It is made possible by more effective at using and redirect existing regional and European resources to a clear and long-term regional objectives;
    • Achieved better coordination of funding, more effective monitoring of sectoral activities, synergistic restructuring and integration of new "common challenges", Planning place "bottom-up" to achieve clearly defined results, and decentralized management of different levels of participation of countries;
    • Avoid the need to generate additional funds, institutions and norms of the EU, Reduce unnecessary documentation of the development of new policies, and simplifies regulatsionata based on EU;
  • Enhancing the role of national and local government regional cooperation, including. with the participation of NGOs, on subjects of common interest. Central EU institutions only retain its strategic, methodologically, financial and monitoring functions, applied in accordance with the key sectoral strategies and policies. virtually, this limits the role of the Brussels bureaucracy to manage cooperation, but sashtestvremenno automatically ensures that the macro-regional projects with political and economic requirements of EU, eg. requirements for working in a competitive environment, including. limitations of his "third energy package" in supplying the region with natural gas;
  • Complementing the scope of current cooperation by including new "hot topics" in response to common challenges in the Black Sea. The existing cooperation framework covers a limited number of programs and projects under the: (but) 10-year-old EU cooperation project on "Black Sea Synergy", and (b) 25-year cooperation on sectoral themes of the BSEC. Target supplement would adjust the current situation, when "synergy EU" absent a number of current and important topics, impacting negatively on people's lives in the Black Sea countries;
  • spotting (in this context) a broader mandate for macro-regional cooperation in the Black Sea covering a first time: Infrastructure Development; tourism and cultural exchange; maritime transport; coordination of fishing; energy supply; controlling the migration flow; protecting the environment and managing climate change; regional measures to strengthen confidence and security; and proper European-Eurasian Economic interaction, considering, that:
    • The new sectoral themes in the macro-region can have a positive role in the implementation of specific national targets in Bulgaria 'perspective 2030 EU ", which need to be manifested governmental interest and diplomatic activity. These are primarily problems of secure and diversify energy supply (Oil and natural gas), controlling migration; coordination of regional measures to strengthen confidence and security, especially the "frozen conflicts" in the region, and European-Eurasian Economic cooperation. The joint action on these regional issues should be developed in consultation, and possibly with the involvement, other important member states and EU institutions, and the possible participation of the OSCE Secretariat and NATO cooperation in strengthening confidence and security in the Black Sea;
    • The strategy for every macro-region in the EU is normally prepared in consultation with local members. Its practical implementation, however, also includes a "third party", outside the EU, sometimes play a key role in achieving the objectives of macro-regional cooperation. Regarding the Black Sea, these are: (but) economic and military-strategic importance for the Black Sea area countries, Russia (eg. reactivation of the project "South Stream" or branching sea pipeline "Turkish Stream" to Bulgarian 'Energy Hub' in North Bulgaria) and Turkey (eg. controlling migration flows on land and sea, where the role of the EU is expected to grow); (b) Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, in some of which will pass new energy channels from Eurasia to Europe, important to diversify energy supplies to Bulgaria; and (at) Development of the planned infrastructure projects of strategic initiative of China "One Belt, Once", where Beijing has already "pouring" hundreds of billions of dollars;
  • Updating of territorial cooperation and cohesive development for gradual elimination of regional disparities participants in the macro-regional strategy for the Black Sea, coupled with the recognition and joint regional action on common new challenges, specific to this region of Europe. These are highlighted local problems, can not represent a significant interest across the EU, yet they are too wide, to be decided at national level. This raises the need to jointly define a common long-term goals under the new "common challenges" with the participation of stakeholders.
  • political awareness, that neither the limited performance of "Black Sea Synergy" EU, not now apply the sectoral approach to the region, offer promising conceptual basis for a comprehensive EU strategy, oriented democratic and stable future. This strategy should be able to make the Black Sea a place of rivalry and confrontation in a region of broad and meaningful cooperation. It seems, that a macro-regional EU strategy for this region would have a significantly greater chance to achieve this big goal.

Timely preparation and implementation of coherent proposal on this issue by the Presidency of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU Council requires considerable diplomatic and Euro-parliamentary activity on the part of both governments. The aim would be to ensure sufficient support for macro-regional concept in the EU Council and the European Parliament (EP), in accordance with established precedents in this area. In this context,, three member states of the EU in the Black Sea should not be subjected to any discriminatory approach was. Its izbyagvyane is necessary to generate positive attitude by all representatives in the EU Council, which is expected to invite the European Commission to develop a macro-regional strategy for the Black Sea.

[1] For the purposes of macro-regional themes, geo-political term "Black Sea" covers the waters of the Black Sea, together with the territories of six coastal Black Sea countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) and four "associated" countries (Azerbaijan, Armeniya, Greece and Moldova). The second group of countries linked - geographic and functional and economic - black, Caspian and Mediterranean seas, which are part of the broader marine basin, whose shores wash Europe, Asia and Middle East.

[2] In response to the request of EP 2011 g. and 2012 g. to the European Commission to develop an EU strategy for the Black Sea.

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