Exploring the Impact of the EU’s Promotion of Regional and Inter-regional Processes in the Black Sea Region through Science Diplomacy
Building on the analytical tools defined by Kingah, Amaya & Van Langenhove (2016) in the EL-CSID Working Paper 1, this paper assesses the willingness, capacity and acceptance of EU SD policies in the Black Sea Region (BSR). This qualitative mapping looks at science initiatives that aimed to enhance regional cooperation, both in the BSR itself and between those countries and the EU. There has been widespread commitment and willingness from the EU and the BSR to involve in science cooperation projects, and the projects under FP6, FP7 and H2020 did not face acceptance issues from national or regional leaders. However, implementation of the envisaged objectives and Action Plans has been quite often lacking or incomplete due to capacity issues or weak political commitment. Much more needs to be done in this area if the EU and the BS countries want to reach the full potential of the H2020 projects. On the other hand, a broader political framework that shows a clear vision of the EU towards the BSR is lacking, as the Black Sea Synergy (BSS) has been inactive and the Eastern Partnership has been gaining more momentum and thus overshadowed the BSS. Moreover, political tensions in the BSR will push the EU to opt for a more careful approach towards the region, where either all stakeholders will have to be better involved, or some stakeholders should be left out to ensure a better functioning of future projects.