The 67th meeting of "Wider Black Sea Area: task and perspective" Held

JFIR and its two sister organizations, the Global Forum of Japan and the Council on East Asian Community, taking advantage of an occasion of a visit to Japan of a prominent person on international and other affairs, monthly organize a "Diplomatic Roundtable" meeting, which is an informal gathering of members of the three organizations for a frank exchange of views and opinions with the visiting guest. The 67th "Diplomatic Roundtable" was held on February 21st, 2011 on the topic of " Wider Black Sea Area: task and perspective " An outline of the presentation by Mr. Doru Romulus COSTEA, the State Secretary for Global Affairs of Romania, was as follows.

Wider Black Sea Area and its surrounding area
Wider Black Sea Area, together with Middle East, is called Arch of Crisis. Most countries in this region suffer from political and social instability while sharing a close connection with each other. As a member of this region, Romania is greatly concerned about the stability and predictability in this area as well as the process of democratization. Meanwhile, Romania has been devoting its efforts to join NATO since 2001. As a consequence, along with several nations in East Europe and three countries in Baltic Sea, Romania was included as a member in NATO and then in EU in 2007. Taking advantage of this, Romania has shortened its distance to Europe. The increased flow of people and closer economic cooperation has strengthened the relationship between countries on a positive sum basis than zero-sum. Since January 2011, Romania, as the Chair for BSEC, focuses on its duties to build a deeper relationship with Middle East and Central Asia and in the meantime consolidate slowly but steadily the relationship with Europe.

Perspective on Wider Black Sea and Russia
The future prospect of this region depends largely on two neighboring giant countries, Russia and Turkey. Wider Black Sea and Caucasus are usually considered to be an energy corridor from the Caspian Sea to Europe, thus critical in interest calculation in every country. Of course, Russia also attaches high value to this area. To put it another way, Russia aims to take the right to the whole region into its ownership. Consequently, Wider Black Sea would possibly be viewed as a crucial player to construct a win-win scene so that trust would be established between Europe and Russia.

Perspective on Wider Black Sea and Turkey
On the other hand, another player that exerts remarkable influence on this region is Turkey. In the recent years, great changes have been observed in the relationship between Wider Black Sea and Turkey. Mr Ahmet DAVUTOGLU, Turkish Foreign Minister has devoted himself to transform Turkey from a bridge of East and West to the pivotal state in the region. In this process, he has also focused on establishment of closer relationship in both economy and military with Romania. Turkey is likely to play a increasingly significant role in the global scene. However, Turkey has a large population of Palestinians who are usually considered as a largest ethnic group without a home country. It is expected that Turkey would be influenced by opinions of international community in their operation concerning Kurdish people. At any rate, Turkey with its importance in geopolitical sense and its growing power is eligible to be included in EU. It is no doubt that Turkey is shouldering a positive role for EU, Wider Black Sea and Middle East. Romania definitely supports its efforts to join EU.


The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR)