Issues in Defining the Black Sea Region

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The Black Sea region is a disputed notion that is geographically bound to the actual area of the Black Sea, which comprises according to different sources: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and going beyond possibly integrating other countries that are economically, strategically and by means of security liked to the region (M. Aydin, 2004). This crossroad of geopolitical interests, economic routes and influence areas is turning out to be decisive for the future Wider Europe, as the biggest problems that arise before the continent (migration, frozen conflicts, energy security, weapons and drugs trafficking) as well as the biggest opportunities for cooperation are present here. Another way of defining the region is as a civilization crossroad in between Orthodox, Muslim and Western culture. After a series of events that threatened the whole base of the Western Civilization (9/11, War on Terrorism, military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq) have brought to attention this region as a potential solution to numerous security threats, as well as a stabilizing factor for the borders of the European continent. Yet, the region for decades was neglected by political scientists, reappearing as a preoccupation due to the factors mentioned above. This “Bermuda Triangle” of Western Security studies was largely ignored because it is situated at the periphery of three major security systems: European, Eurasian and Middle Eastern, being considered not so important for a long period of time. Before the emergence of the Soviet Union, the focus was on the Baltic States as well as on the Western Balkans, afterwards the aim ...

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...e on different stages of development. Most of the Black Sea countries are oriented to the high economic development level of the European Union, some (Romania and Bulgaria) have achieved the membership of the union, Turkey is undergoing negotiations and many of the other countries are striving to reach EU-like economic standards.
In the aftermath of the USSR’s dissolution, one can establish clear patterns of economic development of the Black Sea countries: all of them are oriented towards a market economy with varying level of success. Many of these countries are pacing in the transition process, facing mainly the same challenges, that they should address with common efforts in order to achieve the best results. After the global economic and financial crisis, most of the countries of the region have received financial help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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