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The Black Sea Region: Clashing Identities and Risks to European Stability

C·A·P Policy Analysis · 4 · 2008

Daniel Grotzky, Mirela Isic: The Black Sea Region: Clashing Identities and Risks to European Stability
C·A·P Policy Analysis · 4 · 2008

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13.10.2008 · Daniel Grotzky, Mirela Isic

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The crisis over South Ossetia between Georgia and Russia that took place in August 2008 highlights the volatility of the Black Sea region as a new flashpoint in the common neighbourhood between Russia and the European Union (EU). What has made the conflict in Georgia so crucial to the EU is the fact that this is not to be seen as an isolated occurrence. The incidence has repercussions throughout a region that is marked by a plethora of challenges to political stability and democratic consolidation - factors that directly affect European security and welfare.

This paper takes a look at the overall and specific challenges that the EU faces in dealing with the Black Sea region. The first section analyses the lack of a European and a regional strategy for the Black Sea states and discusses the competing cognitive labels that frame the Black Sea region's politics. The second section analyses the development of risks to stateness, democracy and economic prosperity in the region. Drawing on both analyses, the paper concludes by drafting suggestions for EU policy to strengthen a pro-European regional identity as well as hedge against risks for the Black Sea region.

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