Black Sea Synergy

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The EU supports regional development in South-East Europe with its Black Sea Synergy. By encouraging cooperation between the countries surrounding the Black Sea, the synergy offers a forum for tackling common problems while encouraging political and economic reform.

EEAS and Commission services have issued a Joint Staff Working Document on the Black Sea Synergy: review of a regional cooperation initiative pdf - 531 KB [531 KB] . It is a snapshot progress in the main fields of cooperation in the Black Sea region during the last five years. It highlights a number of "lessons learned" which will inform the future development of the Synergy such as:

  • fostering a partnership approach
  • increasing stakeholder's participation
  • enhancing synergies and coherence between interventions
  • sectoral cooperation
  • regular coordination with regional and international organisations
  • flexible cooperation framework and design

The results of the Black Sea Synergy to date reveal the practical utility and the potential of this EU regional policy approach. The Black Sea Synergy will remain a bottom-up initiative geared towards strengthening regional cooperation via concrete projects making the best possible use of the wide range of tools at the EU's disposal. An important goal is to bring added value to the citizens of the region while ensuring environmental sustainability.

The 2007 Communication on the Black Sea Synergy set out concrete goals and tasks across a range of economic sectors and thematic fields. The Synergy was intended as a flexible framework to ensure greater coherence and provide policy guidance. It is based on a bottom-up project development approach aimed at building on concrete deliverables in the environment, maritime affairs, fisheries, maritime transport, energy, education, civil society, cross border cooperation and research fields.

A conference between EU and Black Sea Foreign Affairs Ministers in Kiev (Ukraine) in 2008 led to a joint statement initiating the Synergy , which the EU regards as a means to increase cooperation among the countries surrounding the Black Sea. Closer regional ties will:

  • stimulate democratic and economic reforms;
  • support stability and promote development;
  • facilitate practical projects in areas of common concern;
  • open up opportunities and challenges through coordinated action in a regional framework;
  • encourage the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region.

The Black Sea Environmental Partnership was launched in March 2010. Further measures are now needed on biodiversity conservation as well as integrated coastal zone and river basin management. Other priorities include tackling pollution and promoting environmental integration, monitoring, research and eco-innovation.

The EU has also established a new cross-border cooperation programme for local authorities in the Black Sea area that also supports civil society organisations.

A report on the first year of implementation of the Black Sea Synergy highlighted the practical utility and potential of this new approach for EU regional policy.

The Black Sea NGO Forum was launched in 2008. The Forum brings together over 600 participants, including NGOs representatives, experts, donors and governmental representatives from the Black Sea region. The current participants are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania and Russia.