Lessons for a new European Neighborhood Policy for the Black Sea Region
From March 12-13, GMF co-hosted a workshop focusing on the Black Sea Region entitled, "Lessons for a new European Neighborhood Policy for the Black Sea Region" together with the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The event provided a platform for EU and German government officials and experts to discuss how to foster regional cooperation and closer approximation with the EU for the Black Sea Region without the offer of full membership to the Union.
The workshop centered on Germany's EU Neighborhood policy initiative called "ENP Plus". The "Plus" suggesting what the EU could learn from and which role other actors in the region like (U.S., Russia and Turkey) should play to address the various challenges concerning the complex nature of the Black Sea Region. The general atmosphere was rather cautious and skeptical as far as EU initiatives in the region are concerned. Caucasus itself several important proposals have been made, one of which included that the Black Sea region needed a tangible, on-the-ground assistance that would be both easy to understand and easy for Georgian NGOs to implement.
A few existing neighborhood formats that could be enlarged and applied to the whole Black sea Region, such as CEFTA, BSCE, and the Balkan Stability Pact and Northern Dimension. In addition to these more technical steps, a strategy of stabilization and western integration of the region was proposed. Within the U.S. strategy debate, this region plays a more significant role for the greater Middle East than for the EU. A common theme that emerged from most of the discussions was the need to create new regional cooperation stemming from a concerted approach by the U.S., EU, and other regional partners. Another key point was the only lasting solution for the region; A newly developed regional cooperation policy. The United States and Great Britain valued the importance of the strategic debate, whereas Germany and France preferred to avoid a direct strategy debate and focus on the implementation of smaller political initiatives for regional stability.
Experts from ministries, members from think tanks, and journalists were present at the workshop. Eckart von Klaeden, Foreign policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and member of the Executive Council of the CDU/CSU Party, delivered a keynote address on contemporary challenges for a new ENP in the region and its transatlantic implications.