0ROMOTING SYNERGIES ACROSS REGIONS
Editor’s note A year ago, when the Caucasus crisis between Georgia and Russia erupted the notion of “neighbourhood” came to the fore. A year later it has made policy-makers, diplomats, analysts and academics in Europe realise that efforts should concentrate on the resolution of disputes across the borders of the continent. Relations between Georgia and Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as Turkey and Armenia are problematic, the pipeline construction has received a strongly politicised dimension, borders remain closed and the European Union does not seem to have adequate mechanisms to ensure stability and prosperity in its neighbourhood, taking also into account the global financial crisis. What has since changed? Did transatlantic developments and the new US administration have an impact on the Black Sea region and the wider European neighbourhood? How has the financial crisis affected the efforts towards the resolution of protracted conflicts? Has the recent proactive Turkish diplomacy borne fruits and is there a possibility of the emergence of Turkey as a “regional soft power”? Will Russia monopolise the region or “dipolise” the world? This issue of The Bridge has focused on the troubled region of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, as an area within the borders of Europe since the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, which is important for the stability, prosperity and peace of the entire world. Our neighbourhood has never affected us so much as it does today and we should turn our attention there.
Thimi Samarxhiu Risks of Entry into the European Family A quarterly review on European integration SE Europe & the SE Mediterranean www.bridge-mag.com
Artan Mustafa Golden Years for the Demons
The bridge is a publication of the “Agora Ideon” forum www.agoraideon.eu
dialogue 12 - 13
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Dr. Spyros Economides Europeanising the East?
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Dr. Fraser Cameron Russia at the Crossroads Again
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Interviewed by Eleni Fotiou Benjamin Broome: Peace-building in Practice
interview 44 - 48
Interviewed by Eleni Fotiou Matthew J. Bryza: USA’s “Soft Power” in the Black Sea Region Dr. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou Focusing on the East
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interview 35 - 41 © The bridge. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of The bridge. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the editorial views of the publisher of The bridge. All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the authors’ and the publisher’s ability. However, The bridge does not accept responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on it.
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Nadya Ivanova Albanian and Serbian Students Reflect on the Conflict in Kosovo
Matei-Marcel Martin Nothing New on the Eastern Front
Dr. Tedo Zaparidze
Overcoming Mindsets and the Role of Statesmanship
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dialogue 20 - 23 cover story 60 - 62
Yannis Tsantoulis The Black Sea Region: The State of Play and the Way Forward
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Dr. Andrew Wilson and Dr. Andrew Popescu Europe and its Collapsing Periphery Dr. Nadia Alexandrova-Arbatova Eastern Partnership: A View from Russia cover story 52 - 53
Prof. Carlo Masala Security: A Bleak Assessment!
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ENLARGE YOUR VISION EUROPEAN YOUNG JOURNALIST AWARD 2009
7KH(XURSHDQ<RXQJ-RXUQDOLVW$ZDUG(QODUJH<RXU9LVLRQ The Bridge Magazine and the editors from our team win the European Young Journalist Award! Journalists from the 27 EU member states, the candidate and potential candidate countries participated in the contest and shared their vision of the European Union’s enlargement. In each country, a jury comprised of two to three professional journalists and a representative of the European Commission evaluated the submitted articles and radio pieces. What Europeans have in common The winners of the European Young Journalist Award 2009 gathered in Berlin to celebrate their success in one of the largest pan-European competitions of its kind. During the final convention, they discussed the EU enlargement and the question of European identity. The competition was organized by the European Commission's Directorate General for Enlargement, in co-operation with the
• European Youth Press, an umbrella association of young journalists in Europe, and Café Babel, a multilingual European current affairs magazine. The 34 national winners, aged 17-35, were invited for a trip to Berlin. The year 2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the iron curtain as well as the fifth anniversary of the accession to the EU of eight Central and Eastern European Countries, as well as Malta and Cyprus. In this issue of The Bridge, we decided to present to you the views of young journalists from Southeast Europe and pay a small tribute to the national winners.
• • • •
Albania - Thimi Samarxhiu, “The risks of entry into the European family;” Austria - Ulla Ebner, „Zwischen Fremdenhass und Förderung;“ Belgium - Nico Schoofs, “Roemenië calling” Bosnia-Herzegovina - Dajana Mirić, “BiH accession to the EU;” Bulgaria - Nadya Ivanova, “Albanian and Serbian students reflect on the conflict in Kosovo;” Croatia - Hrvoje Kresić, “Buyers of clean air or clear conscience - sales of emission units of greenhouse gases in the EU“
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Cyprus - Marios Psaras, "Environmentalists on board" Czech Republic - Tomáš Lindner, “Svítání nad městem hříchů“ Denmark - Sara Maria Glanowski, ”Rejsen tilbage / The Journey Back;” Estonia – Karl Haljamets, “EL roll maailmapoliitikas - tegelikkus ja võimalused;” Finland - Janne Toivonen, ”Ostettua rauhaa;” Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - no winner
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France - Elif Kayi, “Pitié, arrêtez de nous parler de la Turquie“ Germany - Kathrin Breer, „Das Leben der Anderen“ Greece - Eleni Fotiou, “The half full glass;” Hungary - Zsuzsanna Szabo, “The face of Europe” Ireland - Anna Patton, “The blame game;” Italy - Antonella Andriuolo, “L’importanza di chiamarsi…Europei;” Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244) - Artan Mustafa, “Vitet e Arta te Demoneve;” Latvia – Janis Vevers, “Pieci gadi pēc ‘jā’ Eiropas Savienībai;” Lithuania - Liuminata Mickute, “Five years in union of values;” Luxembourg – Jakub Adamowicz, „Bewährtes Friedensinstrument Erweiterung;” Malta - Kurt Sansone, “The EU bogeyman that never came...Almost;” Montenegro - no winner The Netherlands - Bram Peeters, “De bloemenbrug is dicht;” Poland - Maciej Zasada, “Better not to say a word;” Portugal - Débora Miranda, “Ossi/Wessi, 20 anos depois (20 years later);” Romania (tie) – Matei-Marcel Martin, “Nimic nou pe frontul de Est;”
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Romania (tie) – Antoniu Adrian Bumb, “Roots” Serbia - Milena Stosić, “Europe at the south of Serbia;” Slovakia - Slavomira Gasperová, “Boj o neslobodu;” Slovenia - Veronika Gnezda, “One border, two different stories;” Spain - Isabel Benitez Ortiz, “La Europa del siglo XXI;” Sweden - Clara Bergström, ”Pop från gränsen – Kim Ki O;” Turkey - Faik Uyanık, “One year in the club;” United Kingdom - Neale Lytollis, “Street Football Festival;”
Risks of entry into the European family By Thimi Samarxhiu
“We want Albania to be like the rest of Europe.” This was the leitmotiv of every Albanian citizen: young, old, man or woman in the 1990s; nothing more than a country without any distinction of religion, region and idea. Albanians – tired of 50 years of dictatorship, with no connecting bridge to the rest of the world – wanted to have their country free and to realise the European dream that had theretofore been denied them. Now, with 20 years having passed since that time, Albanians are again seeking Europe, although not as before. This is due to the fact that regardless of the radical changes our country made, it never become like the rest of Europe. Failed policies, instability, a faltering economy and the disasters of 1997 all impeded our hopeful progress towards the European Union. Some days ago, Albania submitted the candidate-country application, which was a great achievement in itself. But what information do the Albanians have about the EU?
Perhaps there are just a few people, apart from politicians, who know the benefits and the “costs” of an EU membership. For the queues of people who have been standing by the doors of foreign embassies for years waiting for visas, EU membership is translated into just a visa-free movement. Perhaps this truly is what Albanians are looking for, because after being obstructed by20 years of bureaucracy and red tape in the embassies, they seem to have surrendered. They are looking forward to what they have been continuously seeking for 20 years, that is, seeing “Albania be like the rest of Europe”. But how much time has gone by, how much blood has been spilt across borders and how many bodies have been lost at sea? No one can give answers. Policy-makers consider the EU membership as a personal achievement and exploit this for political purposes, forgetting – or pretending to forget – that in fact this is not a merit, which belongs to them alone, but to the entire people. The difference between the policymakers and the citizens is the fact that both these parties consider the EU totally differently. The policy-makers see it with eyes that
want to profit, while the people consider it “a breaking of the chain” that has kept them tied up for 65 years. Albanians do not know exactly what will happen after Albania’s EU membership because the Albanian state has not made enough of an effort to inform the public of the advantages and disadvantages of an EU membership. The citizens are in total darkness and know nothing of what will really happen after the “EU wind blows.” The introduction of the common currency, the Euro, to Albania is supposed to be the first start. But with the new currency starting to be used in Albania, consequently the Albanian economy will be facing big challenges ahead. How will this be translated into the economic development of our country? If, in the West, the average salary is somewhere around 800 € and the average salary in our country is not more than 300 €, then the need for common prices will bring about a deterioration of Albania's economy. Another point left in the shadow by our state is also the customs duties, which fill
the state budget. With EU membership, this tax will be eliminated, which, in turn, means fewer revenues for the state. Will the state still be able to provide enough to ensure that an Albanian citizen is equal to a European citizen in the event that the state receives less revenue? This would probably be very difficult due to a number of additional elements that do not allow Albania to be equal to other states. Albania’s hasty membership into the EU would bring about a chaotic situation because our country may find itself in an economic breakdown. Actually, Albania cannot afford all the expenses that the EU would require it to make, perhaps ensuring that Albania would not truly “exist” within this organisation. Another point of debate is the equality between Albanian and European workers. Although we think we have made a number of reforms in education, Albanian university diplomas are not recognised in other countries. If an Albanian graduate looks for a job in a European Union state, he/she will be refused because of the perception and lack of information about universities in Albania. This is a disadvantage for our country because its intellectuals cannot be employed, even in high posts, in other countries because their diplomas are not recognised.
This situation should change before the EU membership, otherwise it will be too late and Albanian graduates will be forced to work in low paid, low-skilled jobs in EU member states. Employment is another serious problem for our country. The unemployment figures are steadily rising, meaning that more families will be living below the poverty line. The European Union has funding and aims to alleviate unemployment and poverty, but how much value will all this be for our country when many of its citizens are still getting their daily bread on credit? Although most funds may be used to strengthen the state of our country, this amount of money will need to be paid back one day in one way or another. The price to pay will be born by rank and file citizens who only ask for an easier visa application process and nothing more. However, the state does not intend to inform its citizens of the negative aspects of the EU, because if this happens, membership might be considered a curse and not a salvation. But nothing of this sort is important for
Albanians – they only demand free movement. Some old people have not seen their children for years because embassies keep refusing their visas. Jobless youths wander through the streets because embassies see them as dangerous and refuse to issue them visas. Whole families are split for many years because the bureaucracy in embassies causes delays to any possibility of a family reunion. Albanians almost blindly believe in the idea of free movement and close their eyes to any bad consequence stemming from European Union membership. What would an EU membership really mean? Free movement, security, more investment, higher income and, in the end, the fulfilment of a dream. Even though we are already quite close to the realisation of this dream, no one can exactly say when is this going to happen. The EU is seen as a salvation by the people and as a feather in the cap by the politicians. Perhaps Albania still needs some more time to actually understand what their country’s EU membership really means. For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
/_\YZOKX2Y_]O]:\YTOM^ /_\YZOSX^RO]Y_^RYP=O\LSK By Milena Stosić
The Protecta Centre for Civil Society Development in Niš developed the idea for the European Houses Project in cooperation with the Media & Reform Centre in Niš and the Patriotizam organisation in Bulgaria. European Houses are fitted with office furniture in EU colours and each one of them has an “info corner” and library. This project does not promote the European Union; rather it offers information to citizens so that they can see that the EU is a reality and not just some abstract concept. Within the scope of this project for creating mechanisms for greater accessibility to information and better understanding of the EU integration process, a European House was officially opened on 27 March in Pirot, the third in southern and southeastern Serbia (after Niš and Vranje). Božidar Đelic, the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, and Josep Lloveras, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Serbia, opened the house with the symbolic unveiling of a plaque at the entrance and a joint photo in which the flags of Serbia and the European Union flew side by side. According to Jelena Stevanov from the Serbian Government EU Integration Office, the European Houses project itself – which is being carried out by the Protecta Centre for Civil Society Development in Niš – allows for a greater level of participation among the citizens of southeastern Serbia, especially young people, in the debate on the EU and European integration. Such debate is made possible through the exchange of information and examples of good practice in this area, which is fully in accordance with the
aims that the office wishes to achieve in cooperation with the civil sector. Protecta’s work is well known as a significant factor in spreading European ideas and values in Serbia, especially in the south. As part of the project so far, six debates have been held and there are plans for a series of activities of an educational and interactive character, all with the ultimate aim of allowing for better understanding of the European Union and Serbia’s own EU integration process. Dragan Petković, the project manager, spoke to WAVE magazine about the necessity of implementing this idea, and about the European Houses: “I’ve been in this job for ten years now, and I know both the people and the institutions in this area. I know that here, unfortunately, things during the past ten years rarely, if ever, happened. In Belgrade you have more than 100 embassies, cultural centres and a million different types of institutions, and citizens are able to hear different stories and obtain correct information; all of this is finally reaching us here in the south, albeit after some delay. Usually people from these areas go to Belgrade to obtain what they want, to ask about some scholarship or the like. We wish to bring these opportunities to this region, to show that the south of Serbia is an area full of potential.” As far as the level of awareness regarding EU integration is concerned, Petković rates it as low or non-existent: “Our path to the European Union is exclusively connected
to Kosovo’s status or the Hague Tribunal, which is an indisputable part of this process. However, I think that it’s equally important to also talk about other components of the picture, for instance, the experiences of other countries in the region. These are the images of people and countries that were in the same situation we are in now, with similar problems, and today, after everything, they now live well and are valuable members of the EU. I think that people here lack that little window onto the world, to see that they are not alone and unique, rather that there are many more similar fates, and that a better tomorrow does exist and that it’s very close.” What are European Houses and what do they look like? “European Houses are becoming a type of institution and have their own physical premises, for now, in Niš, Pirot and Vranje. Nevertheless, they consist of a team of ten young, diligent and fantastic people who believe in what they do. The idea arose in cooperation with the Media & Reform Centre in Niš and the Patriotizam organisation in Bulgaria. European Houses are fitted with office furniture in EU colours and each one of them has an ‘info corner’ and a library where you can find different materials from various
areas of EU member states. Of course, the majority of the publications deal with the European integration process itself. This is not a project which promotes the EU, rather a project which offers information to citizens on what it will actually mean to them. People will be able to see that the European Union is a reality and not some abstract concept, to see that it is a part of life and their daily routine!” “Our primary target group is young people aged between 18 and 30, but people of all age groups are absolutely welcome. The debates which have been held so far have been organised for high school and university students and institutions.” What have been the effects so far? How do people react to this topic? “Fantastically! When you hear young people of 15 years of age in Vranje or Pirot posing very mature questions and conducting fascinating discussions, I know that there is hope. All that this country needs are people who think with their own minds and don’t make decisions based on an electoral campaign poster of whichever political party. Young people in this part of Serbia have been denied many things, including information about what the European integration process brings. As much as we have succeeded in bringing that information to hundreds of young people, this is a big thing and I am sure that the results can be far greater.” We found out from the co-ordinator of European Houses in Niš, Jelena Stajković,
that along with organising debates and talks on subjects which young people have shown the most interest in (from concerns over losing national identity, to study abroad possibilities, to the terminology and processes of integration), there are also plans to observe Europe Day on 9 May. What other activities can we expect? “This project will have an educational campaign with examples and stories of everyday life in other countries that are now members of the EU. There will be various films, cultural evenings, exhibits, meetings, street activities and educational broadcasts. People who are interested in participating in our activities and wish to contribute that way can do so at any time.” Why is the issue of national identity often mentioned when talking about European integration? “National identity is not something that someone gives to you, so in the same way, in my opinion, no one can take it away from you or destroy it. The best way to lose it is to become poor and helpless, and in such times that subject is surely the last thing you would think about. If you look more closely, you will see that when a country is better and richer, it has a stronger national identity. Therefore, I am convinced that with the country’s progress, national identity will strengthen and not weaken, because if someone were to ask you where you are from, would you be more proud to say you are from a Serbia that is poor and alone, or from a Serbia that is an advanced and rich country?” Finally, a crucial question related to the message that this project sends – what will Serbia gain from membership of the Euro-
pean Union and what will the EU gain by accepting Serbia? “Serbia would gain a lot from EU membership. As many have said, it is a group of the rich [and,] therefore, the mere fact that we are on the path towards the EU shows that our society is moving forward, becoming better and richer, not only in an economic sense, but also in a cultural sense. Membership of the EU means, above all, a good standard and quality of life for the average person. Serbia thus will gain stability, security, economic prosperity and almost 30 friends. There’s no better way to preserve your country and your interests than having, at this moment, another 27 countries around you, which are ready to defend the common interest. The EU will gain from Serbia’s entry, above all, stability and a unique economic market. History has already shown many times that a stable Balkans is crucial for the stability for the whole of Europe. The European idea itself arose from the foundations of stability, mutual respect and interests, as opposed to war and conflict between European nations. The EU will gain yet another country with a very old culture and tradition.” The European Houses project does not have a limited time period and, according to our respondent, when Serbia becomes an EU member the project will then take on the role of further informing citizens on their possibilities within the union – which by then will be even greater. For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
%RVQLDDQG+HU]HJRYLQD By Dajana Miric
For years now, the accession of Bosnia and Herzogovina (BiH) to the EU has been regarded as the country’s Holy Grail – the moment when all our problems will be solved. I do not believe this. I believe that our country has a lot more to lose than it has to gain through EU membership. It is not necessary to dwell much on the potential loss of political, legislative and economic independence – given that we are already in a similar situation at present; indeed, the EU, via its High Representative, has let it be known both directly and indirectly that, in its opinion, we are not clever enough or sufficiently capable of managing our own affairs. In this essay I wish to concentrate on some other equally important questions, which I believe are of greater importance when considering the reasons against EU accession. The migration of populations from undeveloped to developed countries is a problem with which we are all very familiar. From the beginning of the 1990s – and the terrible events in this region which we are all familiar with – the primary aim of young and educated people was, and remains, quite simple: “to get out of here.” As well as the problems that arise from the lack of an educated workforce, a further obstacle is the reduction in the number of people capable of working – those who effectively fill the
state’s coffers. This problem is already having an impact on the economy of both our own country and similar states, and, with time, it will become increasingly ubiquitous. From an economic point of view, the process of EU accession may be considered in both a wide and narrow sense. In the wider sense, it involves connecting national economies into a single-world economy. In the narrower sense, it involves companies’ business affairs, a change in the movement of goods, services and knowledge, and the migration of capital in light of foreign direct investment (J. Komazec, Uticaj globalizacije na tržišno poslovanje [The Influence of Globalisation on Doing Business in a Market Economy], MediaPromet, Belgrade, 2007). Our country will only be capable of providing a cheap workforce, and I am afraid that we will only be able to work as manual labourers who will be, both literally and figuratively, led by others. Politically speaking, EU accession is also marked by an interesting paradox, namely that borders are erased but, ironically, are at the same time strengthened. Within the union, it appears that a country’s policies concern everybody, but are simultaneously nobody’s business. And no-one seemingly has the power to do anything to change this situation (N. Chomsky, Mediji, propaganda i system [Media, Propaganda and the System], Online, Zagreb, 2006). Laws on human rights are paramount, yet only where some of us are concerned. For others they really are not important. We
DFFHVVLRQWRWKH(8 save each other from tyranny, but, in so doing, we destroy ourselves. There are numerous examples of this, but they all reflect Orwell’s famous sentence from Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” In the end, we should mention one more exceptionally important matter, and that is the problem of preserving the environment. EU accession brings with it technological development, prosperity, progress and, unfortunately, pollution. Facing the dilemma of money or ecology, the powerful still choose money: It’s simple but true. What is worse is that this is not entirely incomprehensible. If we consider the possibility of building a factory in our neighbourhood which we know will certainly harm plant and animal life but will create hundreds of jobs, the preference is always for the factory. That situation changes when we ultimately realise that the factory could endanger the lives and health of our children. It is exactly the same thing with politicians and the CEOs of large multinational corporations. Of course they are careful to preserve the environment. But not in Bosnia, not in Serbia, not in Honduras – just in their own countries. The great attraction is the European Union and other forms of integration and al-
liances that have for years been forcing small countries to make great efforts to break into that select company. I am certainly not claiming that this is a bad thing; in fact, I claim quite the opposite. However, I do think that no one can yet confidently know the potential consequences, or precisely what we will have to give up in order to satisfy the endless conditions that membership requires. We are thus forced to chase after some potential “promised land.” It is sad, but true, that we wish to be part of a group which is not sure that it wants us, yet, at the same time, is quite certain that we do not deserve membership right now. Globalisation has already brought us changes in our way of life, in the way we think, and in the manner in which we conduct business. In the end, nothing is simply black or white. All changes have both their good and bad sides, and it’s the same with EU accession. We should familiarise ourselves with both the good and the bad, and then, on the basis of the facts, make a conscious decision as to what we want and what price we must pay for it. Otherwise, we might suddenly find ourselves members of the EU only to realize our mistake too late. As the proverb says: “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
(PMEFOZFBSTPGUIFEFNPOT By Artan Mustafa
The illegal medicine market in Kosovo is even more profitable than the illicit drug market. Only the oil trade rivals it in competition. Nothing can stop the big bosses of the illegal construction boom in the capital, except some natural catastrophe. In all, it has been a golden age for the demons that effectively rule our country. The Israeli lobby, or perhaps the illegal arms trade, what demons govern the world of our time? The idea that nefarious forces are governing the world might be just another fantastic conspiracy theory, yet it is certainly valid for this small Kosovar world of ours. Since 1999, Kosovo has been effectively governed by a number of interest groups involved in crime or “business” – whatever one wishes to call it – which, using the legal and political spaces accorded to them by politicians, have stolen and laundered so much that today, in the anniversary year of our independence, they constitute a whole aristocracy. It is true that every other interest was subordinated to the struggle for independence, the education rate was low and the UN Mission in Kosovo, with its choice, had little authority on the ground. As such, the de facto authority of these demons has grown. We do not have to be pessimistic while preparing for the celebrations of 17 Febru-
ary, the anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, a day that brought us an historic opportunity for self-governance and a chance for real democracy. This said, in order for this date to become a turning point for our development and our democratisation, we have to have prepare ourselves for a battle to beat these demons. Those groups are a threat to our stability and our democratic development. They are often more powerful than the US Embassy, the UK Embassy or the EU Representative Office, and can facilitate or influence nearly any decision signed by the Kosovar leadership As such, our battle should start with the Parliament. In its list of candidates for the last parliamentary election held in November 2007, the Kosovo Democratic Party (the party of the current prime minister) contained one of the biggest bosses in Kosovo oil market. How can we close our eyes and pretend that Kosovo’s consistently high oil prices are not the creation of the ruling party when they have gone down everywhere in the world? How can we pretend that there is no cash agreement between the oil controlling groups and
the government when 100 tankers are permitted to enter the territory despite having lesser quality oil as demanded by law? The major rival of this parliamentary candidate in the oil market has always been one of the biggest sponsors of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, the opposition party. And while both parties know of the dirty dealings in the market yet refuse to disclose any information about these, why should we pretend that their frequent, angry statements are for the public good and democracy? Illegal construction is most noticeable in Prishtina, our capital, which would, God willing, survive a natural catastrophe. The illegal construction machine has been linked to the Democratic League of Kosovo, the other ruling party, and has used its officials to make their power possible, or at least not to challenge them. Have you also heard that one AAK opposition MPs sells apartments he acquired through former government connections? It may so happen that he himself fields real estate-related question from interested buyers. Our health system is a republic of organized crime in itself. For example, 60 % of Kosovo’s medicinal drugs are illegal. Do you understand my point? Well, this is how they avoid taxes and legal criteria. There are maximum benefits. They would not have this legroom if the politicians had the will to implement the rule of law before they themselves
rush to get a share of the massive earnings. According to the latest crime statistics, the illegal medicine market is considered to be more profitable than even drugs. As the privatisation of public companies looks set to begin at the behest of the Kosovar leadership, there is the rational fear that politicians will be the only ones to benefit. For this, there certainly is a precedent, as these things occurred during the UN administration, when all these three main parties were involved. These are only a few cases. Of course, business and political interference is common in all manner of things throughout the world; In Kosovo, however, it is of surreal proportions: So that a few people can enjoy massive fortunes, hundreds of others have had their medical tests misused, bringing with it collateral consequences. Because of the same dirty dealing, a city like Prishtina is becoming ugly and might not have a chance at recovery for the next 50 years. What should have been a public good is benefiting only a few small groups. If we are interested in truly transforming Kosovo into a democratic society, the fight against corruption and organised crime is crucial. In this, it is critical that we stimulate reforms within the political parties; furthermore, education must become a priority while the economy should be based more on competition and innovation.
In many democracies, it is typical for the politicians to be part of the middle-class. Here, the list of rich people is topped by politicians. Nobody can do much business without entering into deals with them. The politicians, for their part, make laws and decisions that comply with these groups’ interests. In contrast, they have never invested and supported the reform of the legal system; it is the weakest in Europe. Excuse me, but how are you going to join the EU with such lamentable education rates, this poor legal system status and the goal of a free market being only a dream? To make matters worse, even the majority of the so-called “civil society” is involved in this organised crime network. Usually, the same people got the money that entered the country for developing; these same people “make clean” the deals between the politicians and these demons of organised crime. Don’t get me wrong, but how many debates were opened here which didn’t deal with the political status of Kosovo?
So deep is the problem that Kosovo may face some harsh political repression in the absence of alternatives to the current government and this so-called “civil society” that is often super-nationalist, without credibility and without impact. If we want the Declaration of Independence to be a platform for our development, an object of aspiration for the majority of the community for decades, the agenda for the coming years must be topped by the struggle against organized crime. Things must be done. Nothing comes without a little, pain, but Kosovo has no other choice. Let’s remember, more than the United Nations or any other institution, these years, Kosovo has been co-governed between those demonic leaders of organised crime and the politicians elected by the people. To consolidate our freedom, we must change their way of governing. Only then will we be able to understand better democracy and human rights and employ them for the public good. We shouldn’t try and sugar coat the reality – now is a time for the “harsh reality.” For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
1RWKLQJQHZRQWKH(DVWHUQIURQW By Matei-Marcel Martin
Eastern European literature has been present on the Western book market for some time now. It is, however, still a fairly recent phenomenon. Until recently, in the bookstores of Paris, Rome and even in Berlin, one barely found any translation of a recent book from the former communist countries (except, of course, books by famous dissidents such as Adam Michnik, Václav Havel, and a few other classic contemporaries). For authors, this new openness is a blessing as almost twenty years after the official end of the Cold War, the ice has finally been broken in the book market as well. Eastern European authors’ inferiority complex and their obsession with the West are receiving an unexpected upgrade in the new, borderless Europe. Cardinal reference points have nearly lost all their previous import; instead, the past (and its fictionalisation) has become a co-ordinate for the present.
Three years ago, the theme chosen by Nicolae Manolescu for the “Days and Nights of Literature” festival, which took place in the Romanian seaside resort of Neptune, was “European expectations from the literatures of the countries that recently joined the EU.” Guest writers – some from the East, others from the West – all shared their experiences; the participants arrived at the conclusion, which had been predicted by some, that the West does not have any expectations from Eastern European literature. Indeed, it could be argued that it would be impossible to have expectations of something that was virtually unknown. Still, things have changed since then as – at least at international book fairs and in bookstores – works by Eastern European authors are now much sought after. What, then, has sparked this new interest in Eastern European authors from Western audiences? It is probably the inclusion of these countries in
what is generically called the West, that is, the European Union. “Old” Europeans now want to know the “New” Europeans, and the 2008 edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair confirmed this new openness to the East. Over the last few years the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Romanian Ministry of Culture and not least, the publishers themselves have promoted Romanian contemporary literature very heavily. Whether or not it happened by coincidence, they have chosen to gamble on contemporary prose and, above all, on authors recounting their life under communism. The strategy – if there was indeed a strategy – has borne fruit. “It was the first time that foreign publishers became truly interested in Romanian writers,” says Silviu Lupescu, Director of the Romanian publishing house, Polirom. In the West, contemporary prose is in demand – as demonstrated by the success of titles, such as Small Fingers by Filip Florian, Blinding by Mircea Cărtărescu, Our Special Envoy by Florin Lăzărescu, Hens’ Heaven by Dan Lungu and more. However, this obsession with international recognition is, in fact, symptomatic of a failure to adapt to local conditions. The
Romanian writer is hungry for a presence on the international book market: He hopes that, once his book is sold in a Paris bookstore, he will sell more and therefore become better known, whereas, in fact, fewer translated books are sold, even when compared to the local book market. However, publication abroad has its biggest impact at home: With each book published elsewhere, a “boomerang effect” raises the profile of the writer on the home market. The Past – A Valuable Trauma “I learnt most about Romanian communism from Romanian literature. Fiction says more about it than a book of history or sociology.” That is the opinion of Alistair Ian Blyth, the English translator of numerous Romanian books. Indeed, literature is a very effective method of recycling the past. In the absence of policies and institutions meant to deal explicitly with the memory of communism, literature, in the former socialist bloc especially, plays the role of the keeper of memory. This serves a necessary purpose, both educationally and culturally. A recent study conducted by the Free University of Berlin has unsettled teachers who co-ordinate the national school curriculum. 600 of the 750 second and third year secondary students interviewed say they know hardly anything about the former GDR; many of them had not even heard of the wall that divided the city of Berlin; more than 10% thought that Helmut Kohl was the leader of the GDR after 1989. This lack of knowledge does not end there. Many of these students were unable to explain the
difference between democracy and dictatorship. Jörg Magenau,a well known German literary critic of the post-1989 generation, believes the problem is not so much the curriculum as the local authorities, who did everything they could to remove any traces of the former GDR from all public spaces. Streets carrying the name of the founding fathers of communism have been renamed, statues have been destroyed just like the Wall, and more recently, the Palace of the Republic was demolished by dynamite. Nothing remains in the streets as a reminder of those times; the GDR has been effectively consigned to the history books. But it is not to history books that Jörg Magenau directs the ignorant young, but rather to contemporary literature. In the Germany of the past 10–12 years, a great deal has been written about its recent past. It has been a huge challenge, and it has been designed almost solely to bring about a sense of reconciliation with the past – and true unity for Germany. Communism between reality and fiction But is this history exportable? The answer is “Yes.” This is especially the case since “Ostalgia” has become a visible and popular phenomenon that such personal stories depicting times and lives under communism have aroused the interest of the West. This curiosity is primarily due to the political
context. The last two enlargements have brought within the European Union countries whose culture was previously completely or largely unknown. In its fictionalised form, communism becomes a mythological land populated by strange characters. Jörg Magenau believes that it normally takes 200 to 300 years for histories to become “mature,” and thus, develop mythical or legendary proportions. “However, the history of communism has matured much more quickly”, he stated. That is because people in former socialist countries have maintained mythologised relationships with the state and its political leaders. The kind of reality in which they lived was so fragile that they needed emotional, mental or psychological “crutches” to help them cope. This is perhaps why the literature of this region is so fascinating since it attempts to weaken the hinges of this system of myths. Communism was primarily experienced as a personal history, and that is why most novels written about it are autobiographical. Wojciech Kuczok and the “totalitarian whip” One of these novels is the semi-autobiographical Muck, by Wojciech Kuczok. Muck is a semi-autobiographical work because the author prefers to fictionalise his past
rather than to try and neatly re-construct it. His approach is highly programmatic and deliberately literary. The adult Kuczok tries to re-construct the world of his childhood from disparate memories. The novel is composed of independent episodes through which the author seeks to trace the complicated relationships that existed between various family members. This is a tense family environment, dominated by a strict father who rules over the family with his fist and his whip. The detached, ironic and lucid style of this Familienroman is exemplary. Wojciech Kuczok examines his childhood and its traumas like an archaeologist who has discovered some ancient artefacts… “For me, communism overlapped with my childhood. So I am not fighting the memories of the past. I wrote an anti-biography because I wanted to revolt against what was wrong in that era; I wanted to extirpate the trauma. On the other hand, this anti-biography is made up of a montage of negatives. I made a sort of anti-family album from pictures that had never been printed before, with images that until then had been kept secret. This book is an anti-biography and an anti-family album”. Muck is, therefore, a form of exorcism, or a kind of self-therapy
conducted by the author as he writes. “I can tell you that, as I grow older, I am becoming increasingly nostalgic about childhood. But I miss childhood, not communism,” says Kuczok. “Certainly, the reception of my books is different from country to country. In Romania, I noticed people are very interested in the autobiographical aspect of the book, and how it relates to the past. In Germany, the readers were interested in references to Silesia. I think clear preferences are emerging here: Western audiences are generally interested in the examination in literature of family life; in Eastern European countries, readers are interested in the book’s dissection of the communist system.” György Dragoman and the insidious terror György Dragoman is not interested in historical realism. However, in his puzzle novel, The White King, he manages to convey a convincing literary picture of the power structures in place at the time. “I wanted to write a real book, in the psychological sense; I wanted to examine how fear and oppression can co-exist with freedom,” says the author. Divided into 18 chapters, each comprising 18 self-contained stories, the novel follows the adventures of little Dzsata, an eleven year-old child. This is no Huckleberry Finn – Dzsata’s adventures, ranging from the most comic, to the most
tragic, all take place under dictatorship, at a time when making a joke could change your life and a complaint could land anyone directly in jail. Another feared punishment was being sent off to forced labour on the Danube-Black Sea Canal (a fate, for instance, that befell the author’s father). The dictatorial society in which Dzsata lives is a mirror of 1980s Romania. This story, however, filtered through literature, sheds its specific Romanian geography, and the experience of life under communism becomes the story of the entire Eastern European region. However personal the universe of Dragoman’s novel is, Dzsata travels in a space between nowhere and anywhere, even way beyond the Iron Curtain. György Dragoman was born in 1973 in Tîrgu-Mureş, Romania. In 1988, he and his family relocated to Hungary. He is a philologist, and is currently working on a doctoral thesis on Samuel Beckett’s prose. His literary debut came in 2002 with a novel entitled The Book of De-Genesis, also about the communist past. The subsequent theatre play, Nowhere, written in 2003, and The White King novel, published in 2005, won him several literary awards and international recognition. He does not believe that his experience of communism and his Eastern European origins make him feel “different.” The language in which he writes is the only form of “otherness” he recognises. “As far as themes and mental constructs are
concerned, there are no differences between Eastern and Western Europeans. There are books written about oppression in the West as well. Even the fact that we are published alongside Western authors, in Western book series, proves to me that we are not perceived as being different, and that publishers do not wish to insist too much on difference. I, for one, do not believe in the geographical classification of literature”. Dragoman’s literary model is Beckett and if he were to be classified on the basis of geographical-literary criteria, he could be an author from the East of Europe. This is because he always writes about “the peripheries,” explains Dragoman. “I feel close to many people, who are from both Western and Eastern Europe. I feel [unconditionally] close to them, for no specific reason.” Yet has he detected the influence of geography in the reception of his work? “In both Romania and Hungary, readers have told me that they recognise their past in my books. However, my book was also published in Chile, and even there, people have told me that some stories resonated with them.”
in Europe have different histories, having grown up in different cultures – but, in fact, the differences are almost imperceptible. Given that, in the last 60 years, Europeans have lived completely different histories… it is astonishing.” Zeh has never experienced life under a totalitarian regime. She has lived in the West, away from the traumas suffered by the aforementioned writers. However, this does not make her feel different. The past and the geographical co-ordinates no longer matter, and even if they did, the NorthSouth divide is probably much deeper than the East-West one. “Southern Europeans have a completely special sense of time. Northerners, on the other hand, are more disciplined and hardworking.” In literature, this is irrelevant. Nevertheless, in the end, she does admit that history is a perfect literary grounding. “Story-telling is in fact recounting the past and the writer’s fate is to tell stories and that includes remembering the past.”
She has successfully published in Poland, France, and Sweden, but less so in Israel and Korea. “I think the proximity rule applies very well in literature – in nearby or neighbouring countries, the interest is much higher than in countries farther away,” claims Zeh. At the Bucharest International Literary Festival, where I met all the writers mentioned above, T. O. Bobe was most trenchant of all: If the organisers (the publishing house Polirom) had been counting on a theme of otherness, he himself found his own position was very clear. He felt Western with respect to the Chinese, and Northern in relation to Bulgarians, “What matters is what we, Eastern Europeans, wish to communicate. Westerners are hungry for what makes us Eastern Europeans”. For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
Juli Zeh: home is everywhere Juli Zeh could well pass for an Eastern European, even though she is 100 % German. “Surprisingly, I feel very ‘at home’ anywhere in Europe. I should probably be more aware of difference – after all people
$OEDQLDQDQG6HUELDQVWXGHQWV By Nadya Ivanova
Immediately after an Albanian American, Anisa Myzaferi, learned about Kosovo’s independence from Serbia last February, she called all her friends and updated her Facebook status. Her skin got goosebumps as she watched YouTube videos of thousands of ebullient ethnic Albanians streaming through the streets of Kosovo and New York. “My country is being given what it deserves. It’s history fixing itself. I[t] felt amazing! I [will] remember this for the rest of my life,” she says. But to Serbian American, Bojan Manojlović, the news was a surprise that stirred up his emotions over an old painful problem. He joined about 5,000 demonstrators in downtown Chicago as they fluttered Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Irish and Mexican flags in opposition to Kosovo’s independence. On the streets of the city in Feb. 2008, hundreds of Albanian immigrants and American-Albanians waved their country’s red-and-black flag; Serbs gathered at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral to mourn the loss of Kosovo, which they consider the birthplace of Serbian culture and identity. Later, a crowd at an Elmhurst hotel toasted the American recognition of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, while Chicago-area Serbs shouting “Kosovo is Serbia!” flooded Federal Plaza to protest the secession and the American support for it. With more than 200,000 residents of Serbian descent – the largest population
outside Serbia’s capital, Belgrade – and more than 20,000 residents of Albanian origin –Chicago awoke to a verbal tug-of-war. Five thousand miles away in the Balkans, the Albanian majority in the new capital, Pristina, danced and enjoyed fireworks while the Serb enclaves protested for days on end when Kosovo declared independence. After more than 70 years as a Serbian province, Kosovo – a small region in the central Balkans with a population of just under two million, split between an Albanian majority and a Serb minority – seceded from Serbia in the style of the American Declaration of Independence. The piece of land just half the size of New Jersey is the Balkan Pandora’s Box and its Tower of Babel, its black sheep and, most recently, its newborn child. Serbs and Albanians have disputed the territory for centuries on a thin edge of compromise, hate, simmering conflict and ethnic cleansing. But in Chicago, first-generation Serbian and Albanian immigrants also work together, study together and can even make friends with one another. Nine years ago, Myzaferi and her parents moved to Chicago from Albania. Manojlović, a native of Kosovo, has been living here since 2002. They partnered in the debate team at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, and they have remained friends at Northwestern University. Deep inside, they also share memories of a conflict that has divided their countries for centuries. In the spring of 1997, when Myzaferi was huddling in her apart-
ment’s storage closet during Albania’s civil conflict, Manojlović was still playing with his Serbian and Albanian neighbors in Goraždevac, Kosovo. A year later, she watched as thousands of Albanian refugees from Kosovo thronged to her city of Vlorë, while Manojlović himself escaped Kosovo for Lazarevac, in the outskirts of Belgrade. No children’s tale could teach Myzaferi the moral of these stories. “There are no more dolls at the point when you see stuff like that happening. But it gave me a real understanding of what the world could be and what war is. War is very real”, says Myzaferi, who was 11 when the collapse of the pyramid investment schemes in Albania unleashed a bloody conflict between armed civilians and the military on the streets of Vlorë before spreading to the rest of the country. “I can now differentiate between Russian-made guns by their sound. I can differentiate between grenades and RPGs. I can differentiate a Kalashnikov from an Albanian rifle,” Myzaferi says. She remembers having an AK-47 beside her bed while shooting, bombing and anarchy were reigning outside on the streets. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Kosovo, a conflict was creeping into the lives of its two ethnic groups after centuries of tense but peaceful coexistence, Manojlović says
UHIOHFWRQFRQIOLFWLQ.RVRYR in retrospect. By 1998, in Goraždevac – a small pocket of about 2,000 Serbs amid Albanian villages in western Kosovo – the atmosphere had irreversibly changed as he stopped playing on the street with his Albanian neighbours. At 11, Manojlović finally sobered up when his family packed their entire house into one tractor trailer and set out for Belgrade because they “didn’t feel safe anymore.” But out of those who stayed in Kosovo, thousands have been killed and exhumed from mass graves. About 2,000 Albanians, Serbs and Roma are still missing, according to the Office on Missing Persons and Forensics in Kosovo. Once only a geographical region, Kosovo has been disputed between its two major ethnicities for centuries. Serbs call Kosovo the cradle of their civilisation, pointing to the remnants of Serbian medieval culture. Albanians go as far back as the Bronze Age, when the land was occupied by the ancient Illyrian tribes with whom they identify. For decades, Kosovo’s history has depended on which historian you ask. “People from both sides have perfectly good things to say,” says Andrew Wachtel, director of the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern. “The precise problem is that the stories from both sides are perfectly coherent. But you have two incompatible sets of stories.” After the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century, the Kosovo province passed to the newly-formed Yugoslav Federation. According to the Ser-
bian constitution of 1974, Kosovo was an autonomous province of Serbia, but it also maintained an ambiguous “dual status” as a federal unit of Yugoslavia. The province entertained its own parliament and government, but did not have the power to secede. When President Slobodan Milošević came to power in 1989 in pursuit of a “Greater Serbia,” a group of Kosovo Albanians began to demand more political rights. Tensions culminated in 1998 in a confrontation between the Serbian military and the Albanian guerrilla formation known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Serbia’s attempt at suppressing the provocation led to state-organised ethnic cleansing. In 1999, as an American-led NATO coalition began air strikes over military and civilian targets in Serbia, Yugoslav and Serbian forces drove out hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who took refuge in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. Most Serbs also escaped the region, but KLA and Kosovo Albanians organised occasional reprisals against the remaining Serbian population. The rest of the timeline has been on our TV screens for years – sporadic violence, thousands of refugees, peacekeeping operations, international criminal trials and political disputes paving the way for Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. For Myzaferi, independence put history back into place. It brought a “small reparation” that “made [the Kosovo War] worthwhile for those who died.” For Manojlović, it created a sense of loss, as “the core” of Kosovo has historically always been “part of Serbia.” But the events in 1998-1999 opened a wedge between the two groups
that transcended historical claims. “[They] elevated hatred to a new level to the point that people had to flee from both sides,” Manojlović says. “And you only hear about the Albanian people who had to flee because the Serbs were so awful to them. But you have people like me and countless other people who had to move out of Kosovo. Sometimes the media portray the Serbs as the Übermonsters who are just trying to wreak havoc [on] everyone around them.” After the war, many refugees returned to their homes within months. Milošević died in prison at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in March 2006 in the middle of his trial. Kosovo lived in limbo for nearly a decade, while the unravelling Yugoslavian Federation became the federated union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. It once and for all disappeared from the political map when Montenegro separated from Serbia three years later. Sometimes people get involved in a conflict only because of their birthplace or nationality. To succeed, each side has to create a strong group identity, often by demonising a common antagonist. Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulić, who lived through the Serbo-Croatian conflict in the early 1990s, wrote in 1994 that war reduces
people to one dimension – their nationality. Animosity in Kosovo created the generalisations of “us” versus “them,” the “Serbs” versus the “Albanians,” regardless of personalities and social backgrounds. “Kosovo reminds me of two lions fighting over the same carcass,” Manojlović says. “One of the lions [has] caught the carcass, and there’s another one preying on it, and they are both ripping on it. Two strong lions are battling for a carcass that’s too small for them.” This story conjures up associations with old Balkan wrangling. “Everybody is the best, everybody was there first, everybody has the greatest history,” Myzaferi says. “The Balkans are not united. It’s like a wolf – it doesn’t know its own strength.” As the conversation digresses into Albanians’ proud, “strong-headed” and “stubborn” nature, it sounds remarkably similar to the way Manojlović describes Serbs: “stubborn, smart, cunning, stubborn,” he says, pausing for a second before continuing, “stubborn, religious, devoted, loyal.” He stops to think again. “Stubborn,” he finally says and smiles. After years in the focus of international media, however, visually powerful metaphors tend to oversimplify the Balkan dynamics. Myzaferi and Manojlović’s generation – the generation that grew up with the Kosovo conflict – must cope with what they both think is now an irreversible process. But while traditionally Kosovo has aroused notions of suspicion, radicalism and open confrontations, among educated, middle class immigrants in Chicago, conflict might be the exception.
Keli and Aida Fera arrived in Chicago from Albania in 2001. Back at home, she was a high school teacher, and he worked as an electrical engineer. Now Aida, a housewife, looks after her two young children, while Keli is a truck driver for FedEx Ground. When refugees from Kosovo arrived in her town in 1998, “every single Albanian house” opened its door, Aida remembers. The Fera family gave shelter to five people for a month and a half. Their neighbours on the second floor hosted three Kosovars, while other neighbours accommodated 12 newcomers for five months. In Chicago, Keli has many Serbian colleagues but they never discuss Kosovo at work. No tension arises like it did “back there,” in the Balkans, he says. “You have to distance the Serbian people from the Serbian politicians. These are two different things,” says Aida, who now feels estranged from politics and much closer to the daily grind. “Maybe this has softened this anger. It is in the blood, this anger between Serbians and Kosovo. People don’t care so much here.” Today, the world’s youngest state looks into its own backyard of uncertain identity, soaring expectations, crumbling infrastructure, corruption and high unemployment (currently standing at about 50%). In the past year, 54 countries recognised Kosovo’s independence. While the United States and most of the European Union members
welcomed The Republic of Kosovo as a sovereign state, the United Nations Security Council remains undecided on its status. The old questions of this disputed land still hang over the new Kosovo republic. In the final sequence of the 1995 film Underground, director Emir Kusturica illustrates a metaphor for the Balkan people. As wedding guests celebrate on the shores of a river, the piece of ground on which they stand breaks apart from the mainland and slowly floats away, but guests are too engrossed in dancing to notice as the water carries them off into an unknown destination. Kusturica’s imagery of the failures to make sense of history has kept haunting the region through the centuries, as division, nationalism and uncertainty have persisted in one of Europe’s most diverse lands. But among immigrants in Chicago, there is space for the moderate voices as well. “I’m just tired of all this hate and all this killing, and all of this devaluation of human life,” Myzaferi says. “You are going to die anyway, so just let people be.” For further information on the author and the article, see: www.eujournalist-award. eu/your-award-2009.html
promoting synergies across regions
By Dr. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou
The European Union’s eastern frontier, comprising Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, and further east, the Central Asian republics, requires understanding, attention and concern. The concern is obvious, since the relations between and among these states are more problematic today than they were even a year ago. The August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia awakened the rest of the world to the fact that the wider region is in need of remedies aimed at lessening tensions, enhancing regional cooperation and adapting some of the conditionalities closer relations with the European Union (EU) entails. Let me explain. Beyond the deep crisis in Russia’s relations with Georgia, the protracted conflicts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with their political, social, economic and legal ramifications have moved way beyond their dormant stage to become potentially destabilizing crises. While the rhetorical war between Moscow and Tbilisi ebbs and flows, nerves are tense on the ground as armed forces patrol both sides of the dividing lines. The issue of whether or not Abkhazia has territorial waters has practical implications as the increase in the detainment of vessels sailing to Abkhazia has blurred the line be-
tween de facto and de jure independence. Moldova and Ukraine, for their part, are in the midst of continuing domestic political and economic turmoil; such instability neither helps Chişinau overcome its sad ranking as Europe’s poorest state nor Kyiv act according to the full potential its regional weight merits. Moldova’s Transnistrian problem and Russia’s disproportionate interest in Crimea and other regions of Ukraine compound the troubles for both Chişinau and Kyiv. Even the dynamic process of TurkishArmenian rapprochement might actually complicate the resolution of the Nagorno-
RQWKH(DVW Karabakh issue as Azerbaijan is uneasy with Ankara and Yerevan’s prospective establishment of diplomatic ties. The issues of energy and energy security remain high on the region’s agenda as the trend of linking energy to a country’s foreign policy is growing, thereby raising concerns for consumer states in particular. Furthermore, the global financial crisis has affected rich and poor states across the board. For example, rising unemployment in Russia has led to a loss of jobs by workers from neighbouring states and significantly reduced the remittances they send back home while the slowdown in tourism and the building sectors in EU member states has affected the income of migrant workers from Black Sea states among others. As a result, the mental dividing lines have been rising and are getting difficult to tear down. This is especially true as the Euro-Atlantic perspectives on countries like Georgia and the Ukraine (or even Western Balkan states) have fewer supporters today among EU member states than they did in the recent past. The European Union itself
is engaging the region via the simultaneous promotion of two policies – the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership – that are not complementary and are, in actuality, rather confusing. Also, a longstanding concern has been the inability of the various regional cooperation schemes to have a significant impact as most, except for the BSEC, are exclusive in their membership and seem at times to be antagonistic, even though GDP trends and FDI inflows have been rising since the end of the Cold War (at least until the appearance of the economic crisis). In these uncertain times, the only certainty is the need for more dialogue, discussion, and debate between the peoples of the region in the hope that a better understanding of each other might contribute to overcoming many of the region’s shortcomings.
It is in this vein that the International Centre for Black Sea Studies recently held the 2nd International Black Sea Symposium, whose objective was to discuss the current state of affairs in the wider Black Sea Region among young professionals from the countries of the region. Dr. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou is Director General of the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) and Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of the Aegean.
5IF#MBDL4FB3FHJPO Reported by Yannis Tsantoulis
Following the success of the 2008 International SymposiumÂ on â€œThe Wider Black Sea Area in Perspective,â€? the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) hosted theÂ 2nd International Black Sea SymposiumÂ onÂ â€œThe Black Sea Region: The State of Play and the Way Forward.â€? The eventÂ was held on the island of Kalymnos (Dodecanese/Greece, 30 June â€“ 5 July 2009) and it assembled analysts and researchers from the region, representatives from the academic community and key stakeholders. In light of the developments in the Black Sea region in 2008/2009, the Symposium analysed the state of play and the way forward. The State of Play: Key Issues and Concerns One of the first observations was that the world seems to be moving towards the establishment of a new balance of power
while, at the level of the Black Sea region, new issues have begun to emerge, including a regional power shift; a â€œhiddenâ€? competition for regional hegemony; the challenge of energy security; the relations among the various actors; and the phenomenon of â€œweak statesâ€?. A key starting observation of the Symposium was that the region faces a number of paradoxes that derive from the different perceptions and conflicting interests of the interested parties, and also due to the fact that the Black Sea region has been constructed based on three strategic shifts, namely, i) the end of the Cold War, which launched the processes of national independence; ii) the opening of the Silk Road, which contributed to the expansion of new strategic routes through the region and; iii) the redefinition of transatlantic relations.
Addressing the Protracted Conflicts Regarding the conflicts in the region, it became evident that neither a military nor an imposed solution to the conflicts would be possible without taking into account the regional equations and all the involved parties. Moreover, the myth of effective conflict management in the region was also exposed. Juxtaposed to the bottom-up rationale outlined above was a top-down/ systemic approach that began with the notion that conflicts were all about struggles for power and that these conflicts would not attract the attention of the international community in the future since both the European â€œpowersâ€? and the US have accepted the fact that, for Russia, a â€œstrategic bufferâ€? was of the utmost importance.
The Role of Stakeholders – United States, Russia, Turkey In this session, it was said that Russia’s actions during the August crisis revealed a willingness on its part to change the status quo. However, it was also claimed that Russia’s reaction was aimed at maintaining a status quo that had been threatened by NATO’s enlargement. Moreover, it was suggested that Russia’s reaction was as legitimate as the declaration of independence in Kosovo. Regarding Turkey’s position, it was pointed out that, after the August war, Turkey started to put more emphasis on the policy of “zero-sum problems with neighbours.” The region has also been of increasing concern for the United States for several reasons, and, in the recent past, the US strategy has been based on democratic and market reforms, energy and commerce and security. However, it was said that the region’s diversity, the historical animosities and the
ethnic conflicts proved to be impediments to its objectives. Regarding NATO’s impact on the Black Sea region’s stability, it was stressed that there are important differences between the Black Sea region and Eastern and Central Europe, such as the position of Russia, the qualifications of the applicants and the importance of identity issues. The Prospects for Integration into Euro-Atlantic Structures The first remark was related to the current institutional architecture, and the point made was that this structure can serve as a platform of cooperation as all states are, to a certain degree, involved in the process. However, it was clearly pointed out that what is lacking is a coherent NATO and EU Black Sea policy. The two alternatives presented were either that the extra-regional structures should be extended to the region or, preferably, that various regional institutions and states should formulate an “integration strategy.”
The Energy Security Equation From the beginning it was pointed out that energy in the Black Sea region is a highly controversial and politicised issue influenced by regional and extra-regional actors (i.e. Russia, Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine). The key observation was that the energy playing field is based on the various pipelines, whether existing, under construction or planned, especially those transporting natural gas. The European Union and its Eastern Policies The session began with a brief historical account of the EU and its evolution. Referring to the current situation, it was mentioned that the biggest challenge for the Union is to find a way to manage the growing expectations both among its member states and the countries of the region, and to find a way to efficiently assist the neighbouring countries in their further development both financially and through the transfer of knowledge.
EU-Russia Relations: Quo Vadis? This session dealt with a fluctuating relationship between the EU and Russia that has experienced both positive and negative trends and is largely defined by i) energy interdependence; ii) trade and economic interdependence in general; and iii) the institutional framework of bureaucratic cooperation. The main problem is that the EU is at a loss when it comes to dealing with Russia because it has tried to adopt a rather weak ‘win-win’ policy when Russia is clearly pursuing a zero-sum policy; is struggling to adopt a common position based on the lowest common denominator whereas Russia has a strong, clear-cut argumentation; incorrectly expects impartiality from Russia; is trying to combine the EaP with the Strategic Partnership with Russia, but it is quite obvious that the EU has neither the appropriate policies nor the institutional mechanisms to deal with Russia’s neighbourhood.
The second part of the session had a broader focus and put the role of the US in the picture. It was stated from the beginning that the US seems keen to press “the reset button” and engage Russia, especially in arms control – although its key priorities remain Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. Overall, in terms of security, it was argued that the situation seems rather complex. The Western world accuses Russia of being uncooperative, while,on the other hand, Russia perceives certain actions of the West and US unilateralism as unacceptable. Democracy, Good Governance, Institution Building The introductory remarks centred on the recent past when the expectation was that all countries would democratise in the same manner as the central European countries did. However, today it seems that both the EU and the US have lost their confidence. In response to the question of whether external factors are important for democracy,
it was remarked that democracy cannot be imported, whereas a lessons-learned approach could be more beneficial for the countries concerned. Potential/Prospects for Regional Cooperation The first remark was that the region is over-institutionalised and that it has underperformed; this said, the mechanisms allowing for interactions have been strengthened and the region is gradually becoming more “globalised” – all good signs for the future of regional cooperation. As a conclusion, it was argued that the Black Sea can be used both as a platform for problem-solving and as a bloc for economic transactions if the BSEC manage to: play a constructive role in addressing the global financial crisis, avoid duplicating previous efforts, enhance its cooperation with other regional organisations and promote the idea of good neighbourly relations and a clear-cut, “win-win” thinking. Yannis Tsantoulis is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS).
Matthew J. Bryza: USA’s “soft power” in the Black Sea region Interviewed by Eleni Fotiou Kalymnos, 3 July 2009
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War there have been many theses about the current state of international relations; Fukuyama’s “End of History,” Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”... Where do you think the world stands now and where is it heading? In the Post-World War era, we have developed processes that were able to transform conflict into cooperation, most miraculously between Germany and France. That, to me, is one of the last really huge developments in the international system, in addition to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But beneath those developments we still have the same fundamental driving factors that determine international relations. History is not ending and the clash of civilizations is not something new. Countries, nation states, and people are engaged in a struggle for resources in general, not just natural resources like oil and gas. In a broad sense, they pursue that struggle through politics and diplomacy. Diplomacy means both political diplomacy and security, or military diplomacy. Those basic factors are the same, so we have had clashes throughout history, and they continue over those same, basic issues. One thing that is different today than back in the 1950s is the struggle within Islam, for authority over what the “true” voice of Islam is. Is it a radical, non-modernizing version that seeks to bring people back to the Salafist view of law and religion, or to other movements that seek to go back to the early days of Islam, or is there a modern view that reflects the compatibility of democracy
and Islam, that can blend tolerant faith with scientific learning? We are right next door to a great example of the latter version: Turkey. I think inside Islam there is a great struggle and we have an interest in how that struggle turns out. But we have a very limited ability to influence it since we Americans in particular do not have a Muslim-majority society, and we are not trusted or liked particularly in the Muslim world. I am not sure that that is a clash of civilizations; it is a clash within the world of Islam, but not a clash of civilizations. A year has passed since the August crisis between Georgia and Russia. What is at stake in the Caucasus and for the Caucasus? Do you have any hope for the increase of regional cooperation and regionalisation that will foster stability in the area? Yes, there is hope for regionalisation and deeper cooperation. I think what President Obama has called Russia’s "invasion" of Georgia awakened many strategic thinkers in the rest of Europe, and in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. One positive outcome of that terrible set of events has been that Armenia and Azerbaijan have decided to energize their quest for a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and Turkey has become more active in a constructive manner, looking at ways to normalise its relations with Armenia. If and when we get both of those processes to happen, I think we are going to see a dramatic and newly positive set of relationships in the Caucasus, one that finally brings together a vision we have had for over fifteen or even seventeen years. This
is a vision of transportation and economics, with people-to-people linkages between all three countries tied into Turkey. That is possible. I am less optimistic about Georgia and Russia. I currently see Russia’s extremely aggressive stance, with military deployments along the administrative boundary line, as raising serious questions in Georgia about what is happening and what intentions Russian forces possess. I do not have any reason to believe that Russia’s intent is hostile. Perhaps Russia [postures in these aggressive ways] to deter Georgia from acting aggressively [itself]. On the one hand, when I hear repeated accusations from the Russian side that Georgia is rebuilding its military and deploying it aggressively along the border, as well as conducting provocations and planning to attack South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and when I listen to the EU monitors, who say that none of that is true, I wonder why people in Russia are saying these things about Georgia’s hostile deployments. Is there a hidden agenda? I don’t know that there is, so the only way forward is to do what we do in Geneva, using the very process we did three days ago, with all the parties sitting at the table and talking through these difficult issues. They do not come to accuse each other of malintent, but to talk it through. If we can continue to do that then I will be more optimistic about Georgia. But we have to keep on working on the development of democracy in the Caucasus. We do not favour any individual leader. We have
been caricatured by people with their own agendas about whether we just like Misha Saakashvili or Ilham Aliyev or Serzh Sargsian. Our policy supports democratic peoples and processes. It is not based on support for individual leaders, no matter how well we might work with an individual leader. Since you mentioned Geneva, what can you tell us about what happened in those talks? In Geneva, there was some incremental progress. We were so pleased to see that representatives from Abkhazia and from the rest of Georgia agreed, along with, of course, Russia, the United States and the co-chairs of the Geneva process (the EU, UN, OSCE), to convene for the first time a meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism. Basically, it will be a continuous set of meetings, weekly we hope, alternating between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, where the parties will be able to sit down, compare notes, and raise complaints and concern. This process will prevent tension from escalating and facilitate the investigation of problems – if there are disappearances of people, for example, or shootings, violations of law, or kidnappings – and it will keep tension low and increase transparency. Thereby the risk of a miscalculation that could lead to armed conflict will be reduced. The Abkhaz had been refusing to convene, but has now agreed to convene. So it’s very important; this is a UN phenomenon. Hopefully the United Nations will lead this Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism, which then will allow it to operate within Abkhazia as well as in the rest of Georgia. This is a good step forward. The second working group, for refugees and internally displaced persons, saw real progress in getting beyond rhetoric – until now we have had rhetorical debates and sometimes just
sharp disputes about politics and whether or not we need to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This time, the discussion was concrete and specific, about developing a plan to make sure we get the systems to the people who need them. So it was less polemical; finally we are moving beyond the emotions and psychology to begin to do concrete work to help people. That is also a good development. It is a developing process, not yet a concrete result, but we are moving towards the concrete results. We had real problems with the South Ossetians. The leader of their delegation is incendiary, rude and really insulting toward all parties. I don’t mind if he insults me personally, since that is part of my job. Even if he insults my country, I’m used to it; people are always insulting the United States. But when he sits in the meeting and points his finger as the Georgian delegation and says “you are fascists, you are criminals,” I think that is terribly counterproductive, unprofessional and does not help. I hope that that sort of behaviour will change and that Geneva won’t simply be a platform to provide an illusion of equality for the representative of a region of Georgia that claims independence but is only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua and Hamas, a platform where he can be insulting and raise tension rather than reduce it. I think we are getting there and I saw very constructive responses by the esteemed Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Borisovich Krasin, who is helping to move the process forward. It is a process that is getting better, deeper and more collaborative. Step by step, I hope that the South Ossetian representatives will follow the example set by the Abkhaz representatives.
The Black Sea Region suffers from a plethora of problems: weak state institutions, the proliferation of WMD... What is the greatest challenge in the region in your opinion? More abstractly, I think the challenge is to realise the potential of the Black Sea as a geographic feature on the map, to bring people together to cooperate on all of these issues, [something that] has never happened before. We look at the map and see this body of water which is really enticing and we think all the countries around it should cooperate with each other: there are certain interests they all share, certain values they all share. But really, since it was a Hellenic sea, pre-Hellenic sea I should say, when there were Greek colonies all around it in what is today Georgia, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, Trabzon, etc., since then there has not been a unified culture or a unified sense of community. Never. Our challenge is to try to restore that. And I think the way to do that is by addressing the sorts of problems you have raised. There are very serious challenges that touch all of the Black Sea countries. From the ground up, through institutions like BSEC, we need to build those cooperative programs that can over time create that broader sense of community. Among those programs I [cannot] identify one that is the most serious – trafficking in persons, weapons of mass destruction, or contraband in general – those are [all] serious problems. [Because of this, there] is the need to resolve, or to help to resolve these conflicts peacefully.
Which platform do you think is the most effective for the resolution of the problems in the region? The OSCE? EU? NATO? BSEC? That is a key question. We have not found the single most effective platform, since each of the ones you have described have different goals and problems within them. The OSCE should be a central one, but for years Russia has seemed unenthusiastic about the OSCE, to put it mildly. But I think we could really do something within the OSCE. There are strategic thinkers in my country and elsewhere in Europe who would like to bring NATO into the Black Sea. I think that maybe now that is premature, since by doing so we would raise tensions with Turkey, given its desire – that we share – to uphold the Montreux Convention, with Russia, and with others within the EU. In a way that only makes it harder to talk to each other, and decreases the sense of community that I spoke of. Though, as an American, I would love to see NATO in the Black Sea. And, of course, we already have Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. We can use the NATO structures in cooperation that come from our relations with those countries as NATO members, but we do not necessarily have to push NATO further into the Black Sea. The EU also has great potential; the Eastern Partnership and Black Sea Synergy are tools we very much need to use. But, since Russia is not a member, their applicability is limited. The OSCE is one where we could do a lot, perhaps focusing more on the democracy side and the mediation of conflicts, seeing as we ministry co-chairs are also OSCE members. But also with BSEC, since it is an indigenous, existing platform that can help on the economic cooperation side. I just wish we could find a way for it to do more, and to do more concrete things.
How do you perceive the role of Russia in the region? Do you think for example, it could transform into a unifying regional leader in the not too distant future? That would be great. I’ve spent my entire academic and professional career living in, focused on or dealing with Russia. And I do not think it is very controversial to say that Russia’s world view is different to that of the United States and the Euro-Atlantic community. We in the Euro-Atlantic family, as I said at the outset, have designed processes to reduce conflict. Our goal is not to expand our influence in an abstract way; we want to address individual discreet problems and fix them, in cooperation with Russia and all the countries of the Black Sea region. Russia looks at the world differently; its fundamental goal is to increase its own influence in an abstract sense, and therefore it has greater difficulty in simply trying to resolve a discreet problem if by so doing the influence of someone in the Euro-Atlantic community would increase. So there is this philosophical divide that will always be a limiting factor in how we deal with problems in the Black Sea Region. I’m not even sure that Russia aspires to be the great unifier of the Black Sea Region. Rather, I think it aspires to be the most influential country in the region and would like to keep change in check. It is a status quo power when it comes to the Black Sea; we have seen the United States is anything but a status quo power. We push for change and sometimes people say “too much.” It’s a fundamental philosophical difference. I am not being critical of Russia, I am just observing. We have to find a way to work with Russia in the Black Sea; that is the underlying concept.
Do you think that the South Stream and Nabucco energy routes are competitive? I think that South Stream was designed by some to prevent Nabucco from being realised. I do not believe that everyone involved with South Stream thinks that, I certainly do not think the Italians intended that or everyone in Gazprom. I think there are lots of people in Gazprom whose main goal is to make commercial deals and to earn money for their company and shareholders. How could Nabucco be made economically viable? Under which conditions could it possibly operate? It is completely possible. There is a lot of hype and misunderstanding by people who do not follow the energy issues so closely that makes them believe propaganda that tells them that Nabucco is not viable; it is totally viable. You will see within a matter of days the signature of some landmark agreements that will signal to the markets that the project is going forward, that the developers, working in partnership with the European Union, have decided that Nabucco is a priority commercially and strategically. We will then see acceleration and the opening of all the channels necessary to line up the gas supplies and put in place the commercial agreements for it to be realised. There will be a major set of infrastructure realised within the next five to ten years from the Caspian Sea, bringing natural gas to the EU space. It has yet to be seen whether it is Nabucco or the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline or both or whether one of the projects takes over the other ones.
Do you think it would be possible for Nabucco to be the provider and the energy route for Europe? In the energy sector, private investors for a private project like Nabucco like to develop the infrastructure incrementally and to match the pipeline capacity to the gas production capacity, unlike in Russia where you have the state making the decision then pumping money to realise a project like South Stream. We know that in Azerbaijan, Shah Deniz Phase II production is going to provide about 16 billion cubic meters, maybe twelve will be available for export, some will go to Turkey, there will be some left over for ITGI; that’s the first step. Azerbaijan will then accelerate its production of natural gas because this export route will be proven. Turkmenistan will see they have an export route to Europe if they can take on the political risk of telling Russia that they have the right to sell some of their gas to the West, while selling most of it to Russia. They will be willing to take on that risk if they see that there is an export route for delivering that gas to Europe, so then we will see gas coming from Turkmenistan. Then you will see an expansion of this ITGI project, or you will see it interconnected to Bulgaria, and then onward to Romania and to Hungary. You will see other interconnections all throughout Central Europe, they have to realise Nabucco in a step by step way through incremental investments in interconnections. [On the other hand,] you may just see after these agreements are in place such acceleration in investment in natural gas development in Azerbaijan, in Northern Iraq and in Turkmenistan, that both projects could be
realised simultaneously. I do not now what will happen, it just depends now on how the diplomacy and the investment decisions interact. It’s an exciting moment Has there been a change in USGeorgian relations following the August 2008 War? Not at all. If you look at what happened after Russia invaded Georgia, then senators Obama and Biden said we should offer Georgia a one billion dollar assistance package to show our support for Georgia and to help it continue with its groundbreaking reforms. And now those two senators run our country and we have delivered that pledge of one billion dollars, notwithstanding the most severe financial crisis in decades. We still offered one billion dollars to Georgia, of course in partnership with our EU allies, who have offered three and a half billion Euros. If you listen to the way that our senior officials in the administration talk about Georgia, there is no fundamental shift; what we say is that the decisions of NATO at Bucharest stand valid, that Georgia and Ukraine will be members of NATO when they fulfil the membership criteria, and that no one has a veto. When you listen to President Obama and Secretary Clinton talk about Georgia, they say that we want to restart our relations with Russia, to change the tone and to focus more on cooperation, but not at the expense of our deepening relationship with Georgia and not at the expense of softening our resistance to Russian attempts to dominate energy routes to Europe. Both of our leaders say this. Vice President Biden,
when he made his speech in Munich, said “yes, restart our relations but no spheres of influence;” what he has in mind is obviously what we are discussing now. Just a week and a half ago, the United States and Georgia convened, for the first time, our bilateral committee on strategic partnership with Foreign Minister Vashadze in Washington to implement the charter of strategic partnership, signed by the then Secretary Rice and Foreign Minister Vashadze at the very end of the Bush administration. So we signed a charter on January 9th, eleven days before the end of the Bush administration, and we are implementing it now, under the Obama administration, so fundamentally there has not been a change. I should underscore that security relations are only one part of our relationship with Georgia. Georgia has done remarkable things towards developing a democracy [yet] has a remarkably long way to go. And so we are speaking very openly about the need for Georgia to reinvigorate its democratic reforms – [something that people have been calling for]on the streets of Tbilisi in recent months. What is the US stance on what is happening on the domestic level in Georgia right now? It holds that there are shortcomings that need to be eliminated in Georgian democracy. There are people making legitimate complaints about the need for greater freedom of media; we would like to see more analytical news programs broadcast all across Georgia, not just in Tbilisi where you can get access to sharply critical, analytical news stories. The point is not that there just needs to be more criticism of the Georgian government, of which there is a lot; there needs to be professional analysis of what is happening in the country that is accessible to people all over the country. More electoral
reform is needed, and there are continuing complaints about the makeup of the central election commission; that issue needs to be resolved. There are a lot of complaints about interference in elections. That needs to be stopped or at least addressed in a mutually agreeable way. What I am getting at is that members of the opposition who are seen as legitimate by virtue of having voter support, and government officials who are seen as legitimate by virtue of their party having been elected into the government, need to sit down and work through these difficult challenges, to reinvigorate reform. I think there has been a period in which the discussion was distorted by street protests, and the government and the opposition talking past each other. Street protests are a key element of democracy when they are peaceful and they need to continue; everyone has a right to protest in the streets. But I sense that, in general, the citizens of Tbilisi have had enough already and would like to have their streets back to themselves, to have a normal life, a normal economic and civic life again, and feel that the government and the opposition need to sit down and start addressing these problems. What about US-Turkish relations, given the Obama visit, and the warming of relations after the war in Iraq and Georgia? How do you see the fact that Turkey’s foreign policy has become pro-active in the region recently, given for example, that within this context we have witnessed a warming of Turkish-Russian relations, and the development of the idea of the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation
So, you see Turkey as an effective mediator between, say, the US and Iran, or Israel and Syria, or Pakistan and Afghanistan? Platform. How do you view the fact that Turkey is emerging as a regional soft power? And as a regional hard power too. Turkey is an amazing country and one of our most important allies in the world. It has the largest military in Europe, it is an economic powerhouse, and it can and does and will serve as a regional engine of economic development. It has a legacy of one hundred and fifty years of modernizing reform, and it brought modernising reforms to places like Cairo and Damascus in the last one hundred and fifty years, in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, during the Tanzimat Period. These legacies are a great asset for Turkey in terms of soft power and we want to work with Turkey, following then professor, now Foreign Minister, Davutoğlu’s vision of strategic depth. Turkey [has] improved its relations three hundred and sixty degrees with its neighbours, and thereby strengthen[ed] its strategic importance as a partner, not as a model since it is unique, given the Ataturk experience, but as an example of the compatibility of Islam, democracy, modernity, reform and prosperity. We can totally support that and we are pleased that Turkey now wants to play a more active role in helping to build stability and prosperity in the South Caucasus.
We want to build in partnership on Turkey’s deep experience in Pakistan, Afghanistan and indeed in the Middle East. In the Caucasus, Turkey is a member of the OSCE Minsk group, but Turkey is not a co-chair nor does it aspire to be one. I think when we are so close to a significant breakthrough on Nagorno-Karabakh, we should keep going, and we do not want to change Turkey’s position. Turkey can help improve the climate in the South Caucasus, as its process of normalizing relations with Armenia demonstrates. I understand that Azerbaijan is very uncomfortable that Turkey might consider normalizing its relations with Armenia before there is a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. But I also believe, and my country’s policy is that as Turkey and Armenia warm their relations and tension decreases, Armenia will continue to feel, step by step, freer to be flexible and more positive about taking on the political risk of big decisions with Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. And I think we will actually see both processes moving forward, in parallel, at different speeds. So, you don’t see a settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh as a prerequisite for warming Turkish-Armenian relations? I would not put it that way. What I see is that the processes are separate. They will move forward in parallel. Azerbaijan wants to make sure that there is a breakthrough
on Nagorno-Karabakh as Turkey-Armenia relations are improving. Armenia wants the same thing, both countries aspire to that, but neither country wants one process to be used as leverage over them. We understand that, so the way forward is for both of them to move together, in parallel, even if the speeds are different. It really doesn’t matter what the United States wishes in terms of decoupling one process from the other. Our job is to help ensure that they both go forward together. The countries will determine for themselves whether the processes are coupled. The Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, in my understanding, did not enjoy full support at more than the discourse level, and the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia was not something that all stakeholders were completely in favour of. How do you see these developments? I was asked a question at a press conference about the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform and I had not heard about the initiative at all. So all I could say was that I had not heard about it and was surprised. I’m pretty candid in my responses. But since then, we have had a chance to talk things through in considerable depth with our Turkish ally. I think things moved quickly after the Russian invasion in Georgia. The Turks moved quickly and I understand that in hindsight. I have no problem with Turkey pursuing its national interests quickly. I do
So back to the OSCE Minsk Group; what are the prospects for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue? not know what is going to happen now, since our Turkish ally is working with our friends in the South Caucasus to add concrete detail to the idea of the Stability Platform. So it is up to them to do that and we welcome any sort of concrete cooperation that can come out of that platform. Despite the fact that it does not include the United States? That’s OK. As I was saying before, our goal is not to increase our influence in the world; we have plenty of influence: we have pretty much the strongest military in the world, the strongest economy, and the most successful alliance in history, which is NATO. We do not need to increase our influence, we need to work in partnership, use that power for good, use that power to build global cooperation, use that power to resolve global problems whether they be the environment and the global warming problem, or to avoid war, to resolve conflicts, to increase energy security, to counter terrorism, or to bring peace to the Middle East. These are the big things that we need to work at, [including promoting] peace and security [in] the Caucasus. What happened with the resolution for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide? I can’t comment. That is a decision that President Obama has to take, so I would never presume to know what our President is going to do
First of all, I feel positive about the mood and the concrete developments within the OSCE’s Minsk group over the course of this last year. At the time of our interview, Presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan had met five times; their sixth meeting will take place July 17 in Moscow. They have been meeting so often because they wish to generate concrete progress and because they are generating concrete progress. These are presidents. They do not just meet because they want to get together. There is political will on both sides to finalize the basic principles which are articulated in a paper that we, the Minsk chairs, drafted and submitted to our foreign ministers [and] to the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in November 2007 at the Madrid OSCE Ministerial. We are in the process of updating that paper based on the intensive negotiations that have been going on this year. The two parties have made a lot of progress. There are a few issues that conceptually still need to be agreed on, and that is what the presidents are focusing on for this month: May 7 in Prague, June 4 in St. Petersburg, and now hopefully coming up in Moscow in July. We hope that they can agree on or resolve these conceptual differences on just a handful of the basic principles that we have been negotiating, in Moscow. I think that they could agree on just about all of them, [though] there may be one that is still going to require some discussion for a couple more weeks or months, but I am hoping that they will be able to break through the conceptual differences on the other points and clear the way for finalization.
What are the most difficult issues? I would rather not say, because you have to maintain the confidentiality. My last question is on Cyprus: How do you see the resolution of the Cyprus issue? Are we close or are we far away still? Well, based on the conversations I just had, this week, on Monday and Tuesday in Cyprus, we are much closer than any [other] time, certainly since 2004. We may be closer than ever before. Back then, the Cypriot parties were on the receiving end of a peace proposal or settlement proposal that was drafted by the United Nations. And we saw what happened: the Greek-Cypriot community was uncomfortable with it in the end. I do not know how many people had focused on the details in that 9000 page document but I think probably a lot of the opposition stemmed from it being difficult for them to trust something that they had not had a hand in drafting. That is totally understandable. This time, we have the parties themselves drafting the agreement. And we have two leaders, of both Cypriot communities, who are pro-settlement. Never had that happened before. I just feel a much more positive mood since my visit in January of this year and just now, this week, with both Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat saying that they have philosophical dif-
ferences but are making a lot of progress. I think it is not naively optimistic to say that the things that President Barroso or former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in recent weeks are possible: that we hope that there will be an agreement by the end of the year. I can’t predict whether it will happen, because of the philosophical differences. There is a fundamental, theoretical, philosophical difference. On the Greek Cypriot side there is a notion that when the island is reunified into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which is what we all want, that the new, reunified, federated state of two constituent states with one international legal personality, one citizenship, will be a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus. On the Turkish Cypriot side there is a fear that if explicitly we say that the new federal state is a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus, that somehow that will undercut the rights of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state. And so, I think there is good will on both sides, I really feel it when I can sit down and talk to President Christofias or Mr. Kyprianou or Negotiator Iakovou or the State Secretary and listen to how they are approaching this. I see a deep level of respect for the Turkish Cypriot view. And when I talk to Mr. Talat as well, and to his negotiator, Mr. Nami, and all the officials there, I see them trying to come up with a way to address the concerns of their own community, but in a way that is respectful of the Republic of Cyprus’ fundamental view. So the discussions all revolve around that philosophical divide. What is positive is that not withstanding the divide on the technical difficult issues, they have come up with many ways to bridge
the differences. But very difficult issues remain: territory, property, security. These will require very intensive discussions over the next few weeks. In one sentence, how would you describe the Black Sea area now? Actually, the whole triangle which extends from the Eastern Mediterranean, to Southeastern Europe and to the Black Sea. I would describe it as a region of great and still to be realised potential for cooperation on energy and trade, on security and resolving conflicts, and on democracy. Unrealised, but realisable.
Matthew J. Bryza became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2005. In this capacity, he is responsible for policy oversight and management of relations with countries in the Caucasus and Southern Europe. He also leads US efforts to advance peaceful settlement of the separatist conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Additionally, he coordinates US energy policy in the regions surrounding the Black and Caspian Seas. He also works with European countries on issues of tolerance, social integration and Islam. His previous positions include inter alia Director for Europe and Eurasia at the National Security Council, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, and Special Adviser to Ambassador Richard Morningstar. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.
4DBTQHSX By Prof. Carlo Masala
â€œBuilding Security in our neighborhoodâ€? is one of the three objectives of the European Security Strategy (ESS). Six years after the European Council approved this document in 2003, many analysts agree that the security situation in Europeâ€™s neighborhood has deteriorated rather than improved. The Israel-Hezbollah summer war in 2006, Operation Cast Lead launched by Israel in the Gaza Strip in 2008, as well as the Russia-Georgian War during the same year, are major events confirming the pessimistic view of some observers on the security situation surrounding Europe. The return of inter-state war on the European landscape has altered strategic considerations amongst European nation states in a decisive way. Before the RussianGeorgian war, most EU members perceived
the major threats and risks emanating from Europeâ€™s neighborhood in terms of soft military risks, e.g. state-weakness, migration and radical terrorism. The answer to these threats and risks the ESS offered was, and still is, a policy of social engineering most visibly expressed in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the strengthening of cooperative security frameworks, like the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). However, given the altered strategic landscape, the EU is rethinking its approach to the security situation in its neighborhood. Most of the EU member states are now willing to take Russiaâ€™s security concerns seriously. As a consequence of this attitude shift, a â€œRussia firstâ€? policy is currently being set-up within European and transatlantic institutions. After having flexed its military muscle in 2008, Russia is no longer considered a country on a downward trajectory, but
rather a necessary partner to ensure peace and stability in Eurasia. This changing perception of Russiaâ€™s role has already led NATO to freeze future enlargement prospects and has increased the EUâ€™s reluctance to address the issue of protracted conflicts in its eastern neighborhood. Allowing Russia to have a more or less free hand in its immediate neighborhood also has direct consequences on its role and policies in the Black Sea region. As we have observed in past years, a more assertive Russia is trying to regain sovereignty over the region, either with or in competition with Turkey. Having a free hand in the Black Sea would allow Russia to secure its immediate neighborhood as well as gain free access to the warm waters of the Medi-
terranean, policy goals dating back to the tsarist regime. Russia is trying to get back into the European power game by entering the Middle East and the Mediterranean region once again. Clear indicators of this policy, such as port agreements with Syria, the silent support of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and weapons deliveries to Arab states show that Russia is again trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East after almost twenty years of absence. If Russia succeeds in its attempt – as it is very likely to – the already complex Middle Eastern scenario will worsen. Russia will provide backing to all state and non-state actors in the Middle East who feel pressured by European democratisation attempts and by the US’ comprehensive peace approach in the region. Therefore, Russia’s presence will make regional stability even more difficult
to achieve. Russia’s return to the Middle East might also marginalize the EU as an interlocutor. One should be reminded that the EU’s role as a political actor in the Middle East was accepted by Arab states only after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia’s consequent retreat as a credible political actor due to its lack of financial resources. Now that Russia is returning to the stage, Arab states are increasingly relying on Russia as a potential counterweight to US influence in the region. Cooperation patterns towards European security might change substantially with a resurgent Russia in the European neighborhood. Since power asymmetries are playing to Russia’s favour and since the country insists on being treated as a great power, its interest is not in dealing with international or regional organizations but rather with single
nation states. Such a constellation might lead to the re-establishment of the Cold War bigemony in which Russia and the US cooperated and competed over the maintenance of security in the European neighborhood. In such a scenario, even major European powers like Germany, France and Great Britain would only play a peripheral role in negotiations, while middle-size European powers would be sidelined completely. As a result, Europe would once again become marginalized on issues concerning its own security. As stated in the subtitle, the scenario described is pretty bleak, yet, given the developments in Europe in the past years, it is a fairly realistic one. Carlo Masala is Professor for International Relations at the University of the Armed Forces in Munich.
Benjamin Broome: Peace-building in practice Interviewed by Eleni Fotiou Kalymnos, Greece, July 4th, 2009
Given your extensive experience in conflict resolution workshops and bringing people together, what do your experiences tell you about the relation between Track I (official) and Track II (unofficial) diplomacy? Is Track II diplomacy more important, does civil society actually push the process or are the driving forces actually in the political elite? Although in conflict situations we tend to focus more on official diplomacy, both Track I and Track II efforts are necessary if protracted conflicts are to be resolved in a sustainable manner. The contributions of political elites and civil society are complementary and must work in parallel. Track II efforts usually take place over a long period of time, both prior to and after an agreement. They promote reconciliation and help build healthy working relationships, which are particularly important in preparing people to work together after a solution. Sometimes Track II efforts serve to push Track I forward, if for no other reason than to give leaders confidence that people are ready for a solution. Although civil society activities feed into official discussions in many ways, it is rare to find Track I actively encouraging Track II efforts. However, in Cyprus, officials have made a number of decisions that have had positive effects on cross-community contacts; the partial opening of the Ledra Palace checkpoint in 2003 and the more recent opening of the Ledra Street checkpoint in the centre of Nicosia were very important
steps in the overall peace process, and each move enhanced the possibilities for Track II activities. In the days before restrictions on crossing the checkpoints were lifted, even something simple like offering space in the buffer zone for bicommunal meetings was an important help to Track II efforts. In general, when officials take measures that allow for greater communication across conflict lines, there is usually a positive impact on Track II efforts. Unfortunately, officials do not often take such steps, and civil society has to fight through many obstacles in order to promote cross-community contact. Apart from Track II diplomacy, are there other complementary ways to deal with conflict resolution in regions marked by protracted conflict? Many types of activities are part of Track II diplomacy. In addition to interactive workshops, activities include joint business ventures, various types of skills training, joint research projects, public panel discussions, student exchanges, joint festivals, exhibitions by artists, concerts devoted to peace, and joint environmental, cultural, or even infrastructure projects. All of these activities bring people together and contribute to the peace process by promoting communication, understanding, empathy, and the development of both personal and taskfocused relationships. I do believe, however, that there is a special role played by structured dialogue workshops, because in such settings participants can go much deeper in exploring even the most difficult issues, and
if the dialogue is facilitated properly, participants can work through confrontations successfully and learn to respect differences in views. They can also discover commonalities that are often overlooked in more casual encounters. The painful experiences of the past are not simple to deal with, and sometimes participants must go through an uncomfortable period, where their own views and understandings are challenged. However, in structured dialogue sessions where participants stay with the process long enough, they emerge much stronger as individuals and much better prepared to deal with the possibility of building a future in which conflict is managed productively. Is it usually the case that the political elites realise the importance of Track II diplomacy when it comes to the issue of political cost? A constant challenge is finding ways to meaningfully link Track I and Track II efforts. Weâ€™re still trying to develop good mechanisms for making strong connections across levels, but there are instances where Track I actors actively support Track II activities. I believe this has happened in Cyprus -- Track II activities have received support from the international diplomatic community for many years, and more recently the political leaders on both sides have made many public statements emphasizing the importance of bicommunal communication and cooperation. The contributions of civil society initiatives are now more widely recognised
in Cyprus, particularly the work being done to prepare people for living together after a solution. However, I am sometimes disappointed by the limited view some diplomats and local officials have in regard to civil society peace-building efforts. Sometimes they even resist Track II diplomacy. The resistance tends to happen because they perceive Track II as a threat to their policies or even to their ability to maintain power, particularly when such activities expand to involve a large number of people and events. Even if civil society peace-building activities are not perceived as a direct threat to the status quo, sometimes the political elites would rather ordinary citizens stay away from discussing with the other side issues they consider to be part of their own political domain. The issue of perceived â€œinterferenceâ€? from civil society groups in political matters can be a touchy issue for Track I, but, in actuality, you cannot separate Track I and Track II so clearly. Discussions that take place in dialogue groups are often the same issues that Track I must address in their negotiations, just on different levels. I see such discussions as complementary and inseparable. In your experience, what is the hardest task you face in conflict resolution, specifically in Track II diplomacy and in conflict resolution workshops? There are many difficulties, but probably the hardest to deal with are the misperceptions and sometimes actual opposition that often
exist in the wider society to peace-building activities. Although it is not often the case today in Cyprus, the people who were involved in conflict resolution efforts in the 1980s and 1990s faced criticism and harassment, sometimes even threats of physical harm. The negative articles that were published in newspapers and elsewhere, and other forms of criticism, belittled their efforts and presented them in a distorted way to the wider public. It is probably difficult for the larger society to understand the negative impact of such actions, so there is usually not a corrective mechanism than can change it easily. For me, it is always painful to know that the people I am working with face these risks and suffer from them. But perhaps the greatest challenge for groups comes when there is a crisis in the larger society, particularly when there is an outbreak of violence. Of course, it is to be expected that in such situations the peace process tends to be put on hold and peace-building groups may have trouble continuing their work. More importantly, participants face increased opposition within their own communities, [and have been] criticized for advocating peace after a horrible event has occurred. The general public asks how the peace activists could possibly have dialogue with people who just bombed their cities and killed people. Although this is a natural reaction, it has implications for society on a personal level: people lose confidence in the
peace process, turning back the clock, so to speak, driving their psychology and behaviour backwards, toward a more resistant and nationalistic stance. Even the people who have sought increased dialogue begin to wonder if they are doing the right thing and if what they have been doing has a significant impact. They suffer from the same negative psychology as the rest of the society, so naturally they will experience similar feelings as everyone else. But I do believe that in most times of crisis, groups who have been working together have a special responsibility to help turn the tide away from heightened nationalist feelings. It is not easy to fulfil this task. I think their responsibility is to try to offer a moderating voice, to try to communicate in a healing way in an otherwise polarised situation. The general public is not prepared to do that, nor do they have experience with the other side that will help them see their view of the situation. While they have to deal with the psychology of the situation and the pressures from the rest of their home communities, they also have to find a way forward that is appropriate to the circumstances. The people who are involved in ... peace-building efforts have to make the first break from the polarized rhetoric that is characterizing the news broadcasts and the discussions in cafĂŠs and coffeehouses. They must find a way to demonstrate to the rest of society that communication is still possible, despite the negative things that happened. By doing this they can restart communication between and help bring the society back on a track toward peace.
In conflict resolution workshops you sometimes apply the method of interactive management. Usually the first task is to identify within a group the challenges in order to find the obstacles in the way of moving forward. Which challenges are most frequently encountered in conflict resolution? You have the experience of Cyprus, but also the experience of the workshops here at the IBSS. How would you describe the most frequently encountered challenges that the groups identify? Although we have not systematically analysed all the results from various groups that have gone through the process of identifying challenges, as a general rule participants seem to view the primary challenges as (a) historical traumas between groups involved in the conflict; (b) vested interests in maintaining the status quo; (c) adversarial culture produced by the mass media and the education system; (d) lack of trust between the conflicting groups; and (e) the failure to mobilize civil society in support of peace. So what about the liberal schools of thought that say that conflict and war are largely related to governance, democracy and economy? In the dialogue groups, there is always a lot of discussion about forms of governance, democratic process, and economic factors -- they are important topics in almost every discussion. However, while they are seen as strong drivers of conflict by the groups,
participants do not see them as the only determining factors. Groups also identify cultural and identity issues, communication difficulties, and even issues internal to the group itself (organizational shortcomings, different visions of peace, various levels of commitment), as important challenges to peace-building. What kind of observations have you made as far as the impact of these conflict resolution workshops? The most observable impact is usually on the people who participate. You can see people developing a better understanding of one another and of their different views of the situation; you see relationships forming across community lines; you see channels of communication opening; you see trust developing within the group. When you look outside of the group, the impact is less obvious but still there. We know, for example, that in many cases people involved in the peace-building groups have direct contact with decision-makers: they have lunches and meetings together, and so they are able to give advice to those in power. It is difficult to document, but we know that some ideas filter up in this way, influencing the decision-making at the official level. We also know that in many cases the international community seeks ideas from civil society groups, to understand how the situation is seen from the level of civil society. So discussions at the Track II level can have an impact on the thinking of the international community, feeding ideas into the negotiations. Itâ€™s always interesting when you see some of the ideas discussed within civil society dialogue groups coming up in the documents that are produced in the official negotiations. Itâ€™s also
the case that some of the people who are involved in Track II workshops may become active politically and eventually part of the governing structures. Which groups are most prone to changing their own perceptions? I donâ€™t know if I can say that a particular societal group is more likely than another to change perceptions. I think there is potential for change in every age group and in every profession. However, at different ages and in different professions, the challenges associated with changing perceptions are probably not the same. For example, the oldergeneration Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, who had contact with each other before 1974, are often able to separate the tragic events of the war from the friends they had before the troubles. When the chance came in recent years to meet each other again, they got along quite well. Even when they held very negative attitudes in general toward the other community, they were able to understand that not everyone was to blame. For the young people, on the other hand, who had no contact with the other side (at least until recently, after the checkpoint openings), a more generalized negative image of the other prevailed, and since they did not know particular individuals, it was easy to hold negative attitudes toward anyone and everyone from the other community. This does not mean, however, that young people are less likely to change their perceptions. In fact, I have been surprised about how quickly the younger generation
can let go of their stereotypes and prejudices once contact is made with the other side under the appropriate conditions. This was particularly true with the first university student group I worked with in Cyprus. Because they had gone through an educational system that emphasises the division and promotes a one-sided view of the conflict, I expected them to have a very difficult time opening up to the other side. It’s true that when we first brought younger people together, they tended to use quite forceful rhetoric with one another, especially in the beginning. They knew their official lines well – and they presented them strongly – but very quickly after meeting the members of the other community, they were able to see that they have a lot in common –interests, ambitions, music and other aspects of popular culture – which is something they had never thought about before. This surprised them and made them question their own education. A common reaction from many of these groups was, “Why did they fool us so much about the other side? They’re not like we were told. They’re human beings like us, we have common interests, and they suffered like we suffered. No one ever told us that the other side had suffered. They only told us about our own suffering. No one ever told us that the others have the same basic human needs that we have. We only learned about the negative aspects, not the positive ones.” When the young people realized this they were usually able to change their own perceptions about the other very quickly. So I
think that young people have a lot of potential for positive change, and perhaps it even comes to them more easily than for the older generations. It is the most difficult group on the one level to bring together, but once you bring them together in a positive manner change occurs quickly, in my experience. Would you find it feasible and fruitful to apply what you have done in Cyprus to other conflicts in the Caucasus or in the Middle East? In fact, interactive problem-solving methodologies have already been applied in many other cases around the world. Some of my colleagues have been working for years with such approaches, particularly in the Middle East and the Balkans, although I am not familiar with applications in the Caucasus. I have had many opportunities to work with groups in the United States, Mexico, and Europe, so I can say that such approaches certainly have broad applicability. Is there a danger that the facilitator increasingly feels attached to the problem and how do you deal with this? Will he or she take sides at some point? You raise a very interesting question. I think it is inevitable that you will become attached to the conflict situation if you are involved over a long period of time. As you try to promote empathy and dialogue within the group you have to engage in a lot of listening. You are surrounded by people who are experiencing the stress and the tension associated with the problem, and when you listen carefully you tend to take on the conflict yourself – you begin to feel the bur-
den, and you begin to experience the weight of the conflict, though certainly not in the same way as the participants. As a result, many people say the third party role is best performed by someone who does not know a great deal about the conflict and who will not be very long in the conflict setting – someone who comes in, does their work and leaves. Although I see advantages of such an approach – those less familiar with the situation are not likely to become so attached to the conflict itself, and perhaps they can make better decisions – it is not one that I have practiced. I have been involved long enough with the Cyprus conflict that I have become quite attached to the situation; it is on my mind a lot. When my friends suffer, I suffer with them. While it raises questions about your ability to be effective, I believe that if you can avoid taking sides, then you can continue making a contribution. Clearly, if you find yourself favouring one side at the expense of the other, then you no longer have a role to play as a third party and you need to leave. My last question is more general, how do you see the world now? After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War there have been many theses about the current state of international relations, such as Fukuyama’s “End of History” and Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations.” Where do you think the world stands now and where is it heading?
I believe we have entered a very difficult period in world history, and it is very easy to conclude that we are heading down a dark path of no return. Many believe that the world order is breaking down, that people will never find a way to get along. The ease with which different weapons and other means of destruction can be obtained only serves to increase worries about security for everyone. It doesnâ€™t paint a pretty picture. On the other hand, and this is where I prefer to direct my thoughts, the upheaval in the world offers possibilities for meaningful change. We have never had a period where so many changes of such magnitude were taking place. It is a time of movements within nations and across nations, as people seek to escape from conflicts or find a way out of poverty. This means that people are required to adopt a more flexible identity, both those who are leaving their homes and those that are hosts to the newcomers. Perhaps our current troubles will eventually lead us to a point where we can function as a multicultural society, one where we value different points of view, different perspectives, different traditions, different cultural habits, and different values. We should recognise this richness and begin to think of the human population of the world as we might an ecological system, like a rainforest, for example. We know that any ecological system, whether it is a desert, a forest, a sea or an island, can only function if there is a wide
variety of plant and animal life. Perhaps we can begin to see the global human population in the same way and appreciate all the different systems around the globe, within nations, cities and communities. If we begin to see the value of diversity, then I think we have the potential for reaching a period when we can deal with conflict in a more constructive way, even though conflicts will never disappear completely. Human evolution has not prepared us very well for a highly mobile, interactive, interdependent, interconnected world, but our future is dependent on developing new ways of appreciating and dealing with this milieu. It is inevitable that conflict will emerge from such a constantly changing environment, but if we can manage our differences through dialogue rather than violence, then human history is headed in a positive direction.
Benjamin J. Broome is Professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University (ASU), in Tempe, Arizona, where he teaches courses in Intercultural Communication, Group Facilitation and Conflict Transformation. His research focuses on the third-party facilitator role in complex problem situations. He has been involved in peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus since 1994, when he held the position of Senior Fulbright Scholar in Cyprus. Broome is the author of the book â€œBuilding Bridges across the Green Lineâ€?, written to provide a guide for both residents of Cyprus and members of the international community who are interested in promoting meaningful dialogue across the dividing lines on the island. Additionally, he has worked with a number of government agencies, business organisations, professional associations, educational institutions, Native American Tribes, and community groups in the US, Europe and Mexico.
the East? By Dr. Spyros Economides
Europeanisation is a term much in fashion. It is usually taken to mean the European Union’s impact on its members: It supposes that membership of the EU has a transformative effect on the institutions, polices and practices of its members. It is usually illustrated, in practical terms, by the adoption of the acquis communautaire on the part of a particular state. When a state can adopt the highly technocratic, legal and institutional aspects of EU membership through meeting the demands of the acquis, Europeanisation has taken place. Alternatively, one could suggest that Europeanisation entails not only the technical aspects of adopting the laws of being an EU member or adapting
to its institutions, but, more importantly, adopting a raft of normative imperatives and accepting rules and practices of behaviour; in this sense, it is a mindset rather than a mere set of institutional reforms. The remit of this process has now had to be expanded to incorporate not only those states which are members of the Union, but also those which are prospective members – those participating in accession talks – and, more interestingly, all those states which have entered into contractual relations with the EU. The reasons for the expansion of this definition and the geographical scope of Europeanisation are two-fold. First, it is a fact that the EU now imposes its conditionality on almost all its relationships with other states, be it through, for example, the European Neighbourhood Programme (ENP) or the Stabilisation and Association Process
(SAP) in the Western Balkans (WB). Second, one can cite the very experience of the EU in the WB. Conditionality has become the EU’s main instrument with respect to achieving its goals in the Western Balkans,and the important implications here are that the WB are neither part of the EU, nor are the goals of the EU in this region narrowly defined as driving the states forward towards EU membership. So, arguably, in the WB, Europeanisation is occurring even though the participating states are not members of the EU (yet have strong contractual relations with the EU), and the ultimate goal of the conditions imposed by the EU may be leading to Europeanisation but not necessarily to EU membership (the goals may be maintaining peace and stability in the region outside the confines of the EU).
How does this process affect other regions which have entered into some kind of contractual obligation with the EU, and, more specifically, what does the process of Europeanisation imply for the countries of the Black Sea? Let’s start on a positive note: there are countries in the Black Sea region which are already EU members (Romania, Bulgaria), others which are deep into accession talks even if they have stalled (Turkey), and others which are part of the ENP (Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova). Serbia and Albania, even though strictly speaking not Black Sea states, participate in the BSEC (Organization of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation), and also have strong links with the EU. The depth and breadth of these relationships means that, at one level, the EU is deeply involved in the region in an institutional sense, conditionality is at play and Europeanisation will result. Perhaps it will take the form of increased democratisation and respect for the rule of law - basic principles governing the EU and its external relations; alternatively, it could lead to sustained economic development or effect a change in foreign policies (especially towards neighbours). Furthermore, there is a sense of growing strategic and economic importance to the Black Sea region. Many global neighbourhoods claim to be at a ‘strategic crossroads’ when attempting to inflate
their importance within the international system: for the Black Sea this is probably more true than for others as it unites Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Moreover, the energy diplomacy which is at play in the region has immense economic implications for the Western world as a whole and for the EU in particular. Thus, Europe is interested in these regions; it has applied itself and entered into agreements of a bilateral and multilateral nature. Because of this engagement, Europeanisation may take place. On a more negative note, however, the region does pose problems. First, one has to answer the question of whether it is truly a region. Is it too far fetched to see Albania and Azerbaijan as part of the same narrow regional system of states? Probably yes. Does it matter? Yes. States may gather around and define themselves into any kind of region they wish, but if it lacks an ideational coherence it is doomed to fail, especially for partners on the periphery. Does the EU see the Black Sea as a region? Geographically, yes, politically and economically, probably not. The result is that the EU will enter into bilateral relations with states which see themselves as taking part in the Black Sea co-operation process, but which is of no consequence to the EU on its terms. This means that the process is driven by the EU and not by a regional affiliation on behalf of the “partner state.” If compared to the WB, one sees that the EU has defined this narrow region as such, giving
it meaning and content and allowing it to form the framework for a policy of transformation and Europeanisation. Second, are all the states of the Black Sea region European? Obviously not. This is important in that it may be argued that Europeanisation through conditionality can only take place where the recipient states entertain a strong possibility of ultimately attaining EU membership (however distant that may be), and that is highly unlikely to occur for a number of Black Sea states. Third, there is the massive obstacle represented by Russia. In the context of EU enlargement, Russia missed the boat with respect to the countries of Central Europe due to its own domestic disarray, and attempted to assert some kind of regional hegemony in SEE but could only influence military/strategic decisions and not politico-economic ones (see Kosovo and Serbia). In the “Black Sea region,” its influence is much more significant and, more importantly, as we saw in Georgia in 2008, it has no reticence in using force to achieve its goals. The EU’s relationship with Russia is a difficult one for a variety of reasons and the ‘strategic partnership’ sought has yet to be defined, let alone agreed upon. The EU will not face up to a Russia willing to flex its muscles in its own neighbourhood, so there is unlikely to be much EU influence (and, hence, Europeanisation) in the Black Sea region. In conclusion, Europeanisation as a process is vague, but has a variety of impacts. Typically, it is said to ‘work’ in relation to states that the EU sees as “European,” and
who see themselves as having a realistic chance of joining the EU. Being part of a region such as the WB – defined so by the EU – may not be to the liking of relevant states – but is accepted if it enhances those accession prospects. In the case of the Black Sea, conditionality and Europeanisation may be at play, but not because states belong to some kind of Black Sea “institution” – especially when faced by a lack of “European credentials” and Russian obstructionism. Formidable obstacles indeed. Dr. Spyros Economides is Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
&VSPQF By Dr. Andrew Wilson and Dr. Andrew Popescu
Crises in Eastern Europe have disrupted the last three holiday seasons. War in Georgia in August 2008 caught most European diplomats on the beaches, the January gas crisis in Ukraine came during a very cold New Year, and the Moldovan parliament burnt during Easter. Meanwhile, Russia and Georgia mutter about “unfinished business,” amid the same pattern of tension and provocation that preceded the war in 2008. Unfortunately, as we argue in a recent report for the European Council on Foreign Relations, the EU is taking its pulling power in Eastern Europe for granted. Largely unnoticed, it has reached the limits of its transformative power in the region. The local states are weak, and are either unable or unwilling to adopt the EU’s massive rule-book, the acquis communautaire. They swing between the EU and Russia, which also has a competitive “neighbourhood policy” in the region.
The EU expansions in 2004 and 2007 have, if anything, pushed the region further away. Visas are now needed to travel to Schengen states like Poland or Hungary. People in corrupt and divided Ukraine ask how their country is so different from corrupt and divided Romania. Public opinion is either drifting away from the EU or wants to have it both ways. Only in tiny Moldova is opinion solidly in favour of the EU. Given a straight choice, recent figures in Ukraine show 42% of the population in favour of integration with Russia, as opposed to 34% with the EU. The picture is not all bad. All six states now trade more with the EU than they do with Russia, apart from Belarus on the import side. But the EU has failed to transform its economic role into political influence. Russia, on the other hand, has learnt its lesson from over-extending itself when its attempt to help fix the 2004 Ukrainian election led to the “Orange Revolution.” Russia now marshals its resources more carefully, and has learned the power of incentives as well as of coercion. Russia has offered neighbourhood states straightforward,
concrete benefits, such as open labour markets, cheap energy and hard cash during the present economic crisis. Moreover, as the war in Georgia showed, Russia also uses hard power – not just military force, but also economic coercion (the recent “milk war” with Belarus means that Russia has had trade rows with all its neighbours) – even though this undermines some of Russia’s soft power strategy. The EU doesn’t really do hard power. Its occasional use of smart sanctions – travel bans and asset freezes against the leadership of Belarus and the rebel “Transdnistrian Republic” in Moldova – have not borne much fruit. Its soft power is also too often ineffective, particularly on the people-to-people level: its restrictive visa policy means that most migrant workers in the region head east, education exchanges are minimal, and the EU has no real mass media presence. But it is the inability of the EU to trans-
form the region, and the ability of weak states to play Russia against the West, thereby maintaining their weakness, that makes crises so frequent. Crises are not only serious, but multiple and reinforcing. Some have resulted from weak statehood (lack of territorial control, state capture by corrupt special interests), and some from Russia’s attempts to build a sphere of influence (gas pipelines, Russia has military bases in all six states). All this before the current economic crisis hit the region particularly hard. And because states like Ukraine or Moldova are not in the EU and have only limited internal resources, the economic crisis only increases their tendency to play East against West. In such a context, the EU’s policy towards the regions should be based neither on the remote prospect of accession, nor on policies that are effectively “enlargementlite.” Instead, the EU should develop country-specific solidarity strategies to deal with underlying weaknesses. The EU needs to
start by putting Eastern Europe back on the map. The “Eastern Partnership” launched in May is a good start, but it began in exactly the wrong way, with only Angela Merkel amongst the leaders of the big EU states attending the Prague summit. The EU should conduct a “listening tour” of the region; it should intervene to defuse political crises in states like Ukraine and Moldova when they derail effective economic policies or worsen regional tensions. The EU may be unwilling to open its wallet to the region’s many supplicants, but it can help with securing the “IMF+”packages urgently needed by local states. The EU should build on and broaden the March gas agreement with Ukraine. It should engage with “frozen conflicts” like Transdnistria and act to prevent new ones by establishing a presence in Crimea. Visas are the most intractable issue, but easier travel will actually reduce migration by making it easier for currently illegal workers to go home. Lastly, if tomorrow’s genera-
tion of Eastern European elites grows up in relative isolation, it cannot be socialised in European values. The EU’s policies are too long-term, while the region is beset by short-term crises. As the US is discovering with its Mexican and Caribbean back-yard, the problems of poverty, corruption and weak statehood do not stop at the border. The EU is currently understandably preoccupied with its own internal problems, but these will only get worse if the EU is surrounded by a collapsing periphery. Dr. Andrew Wilson is Senior Policy Fellow and Dr. Andrew Popescu is Research Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
5XVVLDDWWKH&URVVURDGVDJDLQ By Dr. Fraser Cameron
"Russia has to make some very difficult decisions. They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable." These remarks by US Vice President Joe Biden in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in late July touched a raw nerve in Russia. But to his credit, President Dmitry Medvedev, admitted that Russia could not continue as it had in the past. He told a party meeting that the Russian economy had ‘crumbled’ as the global crisis hit. ‘We cannot develop like this any further. It is a dead end. We will have to make decisions on changing the structure of the economy. Otherwise, our economy has no future.’
There is little doubt that for the ‘dream team’ of President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin crunch time is fast approaching. Economic growth is sharply down, unemployment is rising fast and reserves are falling steadily as the Kremlin tries to defend the rouble and prop up both private and state-controlled industries and banks. The Kremlin’s war chest is vanishing fast as the budget deficit rises to nearly 10% this year. Major infrastructure projects are being delayed and there is evidence of mounting social unrest. To many, last month’s catastrophic accident at the water power plant Sajano-Sushenskaja is symbolic for the lamentable state of the Russian power industry. Western capital is pulling out, often citing the absence of the rule of law in Russia as a principal reason. The danger of growing protectionism is clear, as evidenced by the wavering over Russia’s WTO membership bid. Normally when things go bad in Russia the President fires the Prime Minister, but one does not have to be a Kremlin special-
ist to understand that this is not an option for Dmitry Medvedev. There is zero chance of Vladimir Putin being sacked, even though he must shoulder much of the blame for the parlous state of the Russian economy. At the end of his eight years in the Kremlin, Russia was as much dependent on oil and gas revenues as in 2000. Russia’s share of global GDP is a static 2.5%, almost a tenth of the EU. Apart from energy, there is little that the world wants to buy from Russia. Despite the image of strong leadership, Putin was actually a weak leader in terms of setting and achieving goals for Russia as a modern state closely integrated into the world economy. Buoyed by high oil prices, (over $140 a barrel towards the end of his presidential term) Putin took the easy way out. Instead of confronting the bloated bureaucracy and other vested interests, he
sought popularity by distributing some of the largesse from the sale of hydrocarbons. Wages and pensions increased, but there was no increase in productivity and no attempt to tackle enormous social problems ranging from a crumbling healthcare system (and one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world), widespread alcoholism, a growing rich-poor divide and a lack of modern infrastructure. The demography statistics are also worrying. The Russians are literally dying out with the average male failing to live until sixty. As Putin himself has admitted, Russia suffers from low productivity, poor energy efficiency and widespread corruption. But all these problems worsened during his watch. Furthermore, nothing was done to promote the rule of law. Indeed the Yukos case revealed only too clearly that the judiciary serves the Kremlin’s political and economic interests. Recent years have also seen a reversal to state control of all major sectors of the
Russian economy. It is difficult to see how such moves can help increase productivity. As Medvedev admitted: ‘The state system is weighed down by bureaucracy and corruption and does not have the motivation for positive change, much less dynamic development.’ Last month, Medvedev ordered a probe into the activities of some of the major state-controlled companies, many of which were set up in the last year of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, and which have swallowed up tens of billions of roubles of state funds. The president’s move followed demonstrations by workers from the country’s biggest car plant, AvtoVAZ, part of one of the biggest state corporations, Russian Technologies. The president also fired the boss of the conglomorate, Sergei Chemezov, from his role as an advisor in the commission to oversee the modernisation of the Russian economy. One of the most worrying statistics is that in 1991 there were 300,000 bureaucrats in Russia. Today there are four times as many. Another trend of concern is the monopoly of political power and the absence of any checks and balances. The political scene is far less open and democratic than
it was in the 1990s. When Medvedev took over in May 2008 there were hopes that he could bring about change. In particular, the new president had emphasised the need to tackle ‘legal nihilism’ and involve civil society more. But apart from a few conciliatory gestures such as giving an interview to Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper that employed the campaigning journalist, Anna Politiskaya who was brutally murdered two years ago, there have been no noteworthy changes. In nearly all international assessments of transparency and governance, Russia comes out poorly. If one judges a state by its ability to serve the people and protect them from the powerful, including itself, then Russia is ineffective. Putin may have increased the power of the Kremlin, but he has not helped create a modern responsive state apparatus. So where does Russia go from here? Analysts point to the two camps fighting for control of policy. The first camp, including
the siloviki (the military-security complex) argues that as Russia is facing many threats, it must continue down an authoritarian and protectionist path. They contend that there is no need for Russia to join the WTO and that, restrictions on foreign investment in Russia should remain. The second camp argues that if Russia is to become a competitive economy, it has no choice but to open up to the world, join the WTO, and become a more liberal society with strong institutions providing for checks and balances. At present the first camp looks stronger than the second, reflecting entrenched interests in key economic sectors and a bloated bureaucracy. While Medvedev is believed to favour the second camp, Putin has kept his options open. He remains the decisive figure in Russian politics and plays the role of mediator.
The EU could play a key role in assisting the modernization of the Russian economy. With its nearly 500 million consumers, the EU has the largest and most attractive internal market in the world – and Russian companies want a slice of this cake. Europe pays top rates for Russian energy and Gazprom gets 70% of its profits from sales to the EU. The EU takes nearly 60% of total Russian exports (the US only 5%). The EU is the most important player in the WTO and can facilitate Russian accession. Despite the recent mixed messages from Moscow on the WTO, there is little doubt that Russia’s accession would encourage a stronger, rulesbased, international trading system. This would be to Russia’s long-term advantage, for example, in facing up to the Chinese economic threat, something that is viewed with increasing concern in Moscow. At present, the negotiations between the EU and Russia for a new strategic agreement are proceeding steadily at the technical level. There have been five rounds so far, both sides have a better understanding of each other’s aims and a number of chapters have been pro-
visionally closed. But difficult issues such as energy and visas remain to be resolved. On energy, there are very different views on pipelines, pricing and access to markets. The constant disputes between Russia and Ukraine that have affected millions of EU consumers has dented Russia’s image as a reliable energy supplier. Russia is also unwilling to be bound by international rules in this sector. Although it signed the Energy Charter, it has not ratified it, and Putin recently announced that Moscow intends to withdraw from the Charter. The bottom line, however, is that the EU and Russia have a shared interest in a reliable framework that regulates supply and demand. It should not be impossible to negotiate a deal that satisfies the interests of both parties.
What are the prospects for Russia now? According to Elvira Nabiullina, economy minister, there are signs that the pace of economic decline is slowing. The economy ministry forecasts overall gross domestic product contraction of 8.5 per cent this year, with growth resuming in 2010 but at only one per cent. The economy ministryâ€™s revised forecast for annual inflation is still high, at 12.5 per cent, but down from 13.3 per cent last year. Increased revenues owing to higher oil prices are yet to find their way into the rest of the economy as the banking system remains paralyzed by fear over the growth in bad loans. Overall lending has fallen each month this year. Profits at Sberbank, the state-controlled savings bank, plummeted 98 per cent in the first quarter. The central bank predicts that bad loans might reach 12 per cent, a level that would wipe out bank profits. But bankers
say they could reach as high as 20 per cent of credit portfolios. Russia is still debating how to fund growing budget deficits. The government is expected to rack up a budget deficit of 7.4 per cent of GDP, and 7.5 per cent next year, above the 5 per cent it originally planned for 2010. Against this background, the liberal camp argues that the way forward lies in the establishment and effective application of a legal framework which would guarantee the protection of private property, apply strict antitrust policies, allow free competition and promote global integration. As Russiaâ€™s economy is increasingly dominated by a small group of powerful companies with ties to the Kremlin, efforts to achieve these goals will not be easy. In addition, financial sector reforms are needed to ensure that the banking system serves the entire economy and not just the major players. In July, the IMF highlighted serious concerns about the financial system, warning that the central
bank should be more willing to compel bank closures and consolidation. Structural problems and labor mobility also need to be tackled. The reliance on hydrocarbons has shown how dangerous it is to set so much store in one sector. More effort is needed to reduce employment in the public sector by helping people find work elsewhere in the economy. Incentives to promote labor mobility will be best served by higher investment in the transport infrastructure and education. Russia also needs to tackle its social problems that could impact negatively on economic development. If Medvedev and Putin can achieve even half this agenda then maybe they can call on Joe Biden to eat his words. Dr. Fraser Cameron is Director of the EURussia Centre in Brussels.
-I[\MZV8IZ\VMZ[PQX" By Dr. Nadia Alexandrova-Arbatova
The EU's Eastern Partnership initiative was launched before the Caucasus crisis as a reaction to the deficiencies of the EU Neighborhood Policy, as a manifestation of EU dissatisfaction with the orange revolutions in the CIS and as a tacit recognition of the inefficiency of GUAM. However, its implementation was enhanced by the consequences of the Caucasus crisis as well as the gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen regional cooperation with the GUAM states plus Armenia and Belarus in the areas of security, good governance and economic reforms. The Prague Summit declaration emphasizes the fact that the Eastern Partnership is a new, more pragmatic version of the ENP that puts pragmatism above ideals. It has been stressed that this initiative is not directed against Russia. However, the very idea to launch such an initiative without the participation of the EU’s biggest eastern partner raised Russia’s suspicions about its real goals. Had Russia been included in these negotiations from the very beginning, Moscow’s critical position would never have developed. There is a widespread opinion in Brussels that Russia does not like to be part of the EU regional initiatives but prefers to develop strategic relations with the European Union. To be precise, Moscow did not appreciate the first draft of ENP – the Communiqué on a Wider
Europe, which put Russia in a group of distant Mediterranean neighbours to the EU. Yet, when it comes to the EU regional initiatives, which directly affect Russia’s interests (like the Northern Dimension Initiative), Russia is open to cooperation. The Eastern Partnership is a project that affects Russia’s interests in its immediate neighborhood. Moscow’s perceptions and concerns about the Eastern Partnership can be elucidated as follows. Spheres of influence Russia remains concerned about EU plans to create its own sphere of influence in the CIS space, thus replacing NATO’s heavy handed policy of enlargement to the region after the Caucasus crisis. Moscow’s recognition of independent South Ossetian and Abkhazian states has led many to portray Russia as a revisionist power prone to changing the existing status quo in Europe and in the Black Sea region. However, in the eyes of the Russian political elite, it was a response directed at maintaining the status quo in the region, which was challenged by NATO’s enlargement to the east. It was NATO, not Russia, they say, which undermined the New Political Thinking after the reunification of Germany and reversed the positive trends after the end of the Cold war. Since the enlargement policies of NATO and the EU were presented by Brussels as complementary
processes on many occasions, the EU image was dented in Russia. “We are accused of trying to have spheres of influence,” Lavrov said during the annual Brussels Forum in the Belgian capital.“What is the ‘Eastern Partnership?’ Is it a sphere of influence, including Belarus?” An alternative to Russia’s integrationist plans In the eyes of the Kremlin, the EU’s plans seek to deprive Russia of its status as a priority partner to some of the six aforementioned countries. As such, the “Eastern Partnership” can be regarded as an alternative to Russia’s integration projects in the former Soviet Union. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently signed “Concept of Long-Term Development for Russia to 2020:” The document states that Russia’s economic cooperation with the CIS member states (at both the bilateral and multilateral levels) is one of the priority aspects for Russia’s external economic policy. The concept also stresses that there is a need to further strengthen the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) as the basis of economic integration, to create a customs union and a Single Economic Space (SES) among Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, to form the CIS transportation area, to establish an EAEC common energy market and to create joint financial institu-
)^QM_ NZWU:][[QI tions for development. With such measures, it is anticipated that the conditions for free travel of citizens within the SES will be created. Of course, the new European program architects do not say anything about their intention to destroy Moscow’s integration projects in the former Soviet Union. But it seems that the provisions of the “Concept of Long-Term Development for Russia to 2020” are contrary to the main goals of the “Eastern Partnership.” Security concerns In fact, the EU has tried to build partner relations with traditional Russian allies such as Belarus and Armenia, both CSTO members. The “Eastern Partnership” program says nothing about the military and political cooperation, yet the EU intention is to make its neighbors come to an agreement on energy policy, a possibility which would directly affect the energy security sector. It may restrict the possibilities of Moscow’s “gas” diplomacy considerably. For example, a “united front” between the EU and six CIS countries’ could adversely affect the implementation of such Russian projects as “South Stream” and “Nord Stream,” and encourage alternative energy routes that bypass Russia. It is telling that Dmitry Medvedev sought to help Ukraine meet the $4
billion cost of replenishing its gas storage reservoirs, suggesting a syndicated loan agreement with European and Russian participation met with little enthusiasm from the EU. It appears that the main reason for Brussels’ negative reaction to this proposal is not so much financial but rather political, since the EU wants to avoid any impression of an EU-Russia condominium in the CIS sphere. However, the reality remains that neither the EU nor Russia can stabilize this region on its own. Whether the EU likes it or not, perception is everything in international politics. Russia's perception of the Eastern Partnership unavoidably affects the implementation of this project. So, there are only two options for the EU – adjust the EP to the existing realities or risk seeing it perish. Although Russia’s international and regional positions have been weakened, the country still possesses the potential to influence the situation in the Black Sea region and the CIS at large. If Russia’s interests are ignored by its European partners, Moscow could embark on a strategy of turning what the EU
would like to see as a "ring of friends" into an arc of instability. Without question, the EU does not want Russia to dominate the CIS nor does Russia desire any foreign dominance in its immediate neighborhood. The EU leadership should understand that the territories within the European Union are eminently stable because they cannot be dominated by external political forces. Russia has to be included into the Eastern Partnership so that no geopolitical rivalry starts to develop. This can be achieved in collaboration within the BSEC as an integral part of the EU Eastern partnership. As Winston Churchill rightly remarked, “however beautiful your strategy is, you need to check its results once in a while.” This should be a maxim to live by for both Russia and its partners. Dr. Nadia Alexandrova-Arbatova is Head of the Department on European Political Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences.
Overcoming Mindsets and the Role of By Amb. Tedo Zaparidze
The South Caucasus, a region of great importance during the Cold War, remains today an area of grand strategic relevance that demands the continued attention and engagement of the world’s leading powers. However, after the August War of 2008 in Georgia, the South Caucasus now faces a possible reversal of gains made since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Such a reversal might include the escalation of simmering regional conflicts throughout the area. Because of this, the South Caucasus must truly be considered within a broader regional context since, in this wider area, there is no "end” to history either in terms of the impact of the past or in the ways in which past experiences continue to define how people there view the present and plan for the future.
As part of the wider Black Sea/Caspian Basin Region, the South Caucasus is located in a strategic corridor vital to the critical considerations of three major regions: Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East. It is caught in a tangled web of geopolitical and geoeconomic interests. Most of these interest networks are involved in and depend on the attitudes and actions of regional powers and outside actors. Different intertwined, interconnected and interdependent strategic vectors intersect or pass through the South Caucasus. Given all these borders, accesses, hubs, ports connections and mountain trails, the locale in general is a border zone in a variety of senses. Thus, the strategic role of geography, geo-strategy and geo-economy
in the South Caucasus continues to evolve, altering the nature of the strategic calculations. This trend can be seen most recently in the expansion of the European Union (EU) into the wider Black Sea area with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria into the EU on 1 January 2007 and with the EU’s new initiatives regarding the broader area – the Black Sea Synergy (BSS) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) which encompasses three Caucasian states – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. This section of the Black Sea area has now been transformed into the southeastern corner of Europe, a self-styled “near abroad” of the EU. But it’s not an easy transformation or strategic reconfiguration at all! Moscow still views the former Soviet space as an area in
Statesmanship which it not only has entirely legitimate interests but also an acknowledged “droit de regarde” from all other powers. It appears that due to different reasons – and among them not least of which are commercial ones – the West was neither prepared to acknowledge this, nor to counter it. Moscow's views and the West’s failure to counter them raise a classical Realpolitik issue for regional countries who are not presently covered by the NATO or the EU umbrella. Thus, the different perceptions and misperceptions over these strategies clash with each other in an uncompromising manner because many in our region do not want to acknowledge either the emerging realities or the virtual character of that “perception/misperception” pattern and the outcomes of their wrong interpretations and implications.
In addition to the region’s geographic design as an umbilical cord, of equal importance from a strategic standpoint is what passes through that vital corridor. The diverse traffic of public “goods” and public “bads” make their way through the region, using the aforementioned unique setting – its hubs, accesses and links to the outside world. Along with energy resources (through the BTC and the SCP), the region is host to a variety of potential economic and commercial development projects and opportunities. On the other hand, in terms of public bads, that corridor is also a central location for the transfer of all kinds of illicit goods, specifically arms, narcotics, and human beings.
Despite this, the global strategic considerations in the region are often defined too narrowly. It’s obvious that the Great Powers must engage the region in a way that moves beyond simply securing the safe transport of energy and disrupting the transfer of illicit goods. Today, a deeper appreciation of regional complexities and how they affect the formation and implementation of strategic policies is needed. So why not explore the idea of creating advanced engagement arrangements for regions like the South Caucasus and create the capacity to work with the peoples of this region and their neighbours on a broad range of political, diplomatic, military, civilian, economic, and cultural levels? Such a strategy, while
perhaps not as glamorous and certainly not as media-genic, not only fulfils our mission of promoting security and stability but will also help these countries become inoculated against the dangers that come from many of the threats they now face. That’s why the tumultuous state-building and democracy promotion efforts must occur simultaneously as opposed to one coming before or after the other, as we have witnessed in some countries, specifically Georgia. Naturally, change cannot be expected overnight, since the most difficult reforms typically come in the wake of revolutions and regime changes long after the flashbulbs of the news cameras have faded. Thus, the entire region and countries in the south Caucasus will continue to require and even engage the attention of the in-
ternational community. Why do I say that? The requirement for attentive engagement must increase, since a multitude of new, post-modern threats is emerging even as we attempt to tackle with them by means of the existing modern (or some imes even pre-modern) instruments. Indeed, we may ultimately come to interpret those cluttered developments through chaos theory, in which the butterfly of conflict or insecurity flapping its wings in the South Caucasus will lead to far larger confrontations elsewhere in the world. In the end, the entire region is going through a very tumultuous period. Nobody knows what may happen as we embark on this turbulent journey at this most complex time. Perhaps the axiom that the journey
is more important than the destination, or in corporate-speak, the process is more important than the product, is paramount. Perhaps – and of course if we all proceed adequately and relevantly – we may arrive together at our eventual destination or even discover that the journey in concert was worth the trip. We need to work hard to be successful or else we will be destined to apply the sardonic Russian saying, “We were hoping for the best but it turned out the way it always does." Tedo Zaparidze is Former Ambassador and Alternate Director General of the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS).
book reviews Is there a European Foreign Policy towards the Mediterranean? This study is a comprehensive and theoretically informed examination of European foreign policy-making towards the Mediterranean, from 1957 to the present. The book focuses on the reasons and the patterns of Europe’s actions, with a special
emphasis on the early 1970s and on current times.It analyses how Europe’s interest in the Mediterranean has generally arisen out of a shared sense of puzzlement in the face of challenges, such as terrorism or migration, originating from its southern
neighbours. The book casts new light on the role of member states as policy entrepreneurs in European integration, and explains European foreign policy as a way to collectively reconstruct a new understanding of EuroMediterranean relations.
Federica Bicchi, European Foreign Policy Making Toward the Mediterranean, 288 pages, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, ISBN: 978-1403968647.
Defining the Black Sea Region The Black Sea region was once on the periphery of European consciousness. Now it is the next frontier in transatlantic strategic thinking in terms of energy security, trade, migration, and other key policy areas. In this volume, leading international experts examine the new dynamics of the Black Sea region related transregional issues such as energy security, crossborder conflicts, democracy, civil rights, and the rule of law, as well as future relations with Russia, the EU, NATO, and other key actors. Daniel Hamilton and Gerhard Mangott, The Wider Black Sea Region in the 21st Century, 342 pages, Centre for Transatlantic Relations: Johns Hopkins University, 2008, ISBN: 9780980187137 Source: http://www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.co.uk/
in the EuroMed space After the Europeanization of both Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue in the 1990s, the Mediterranean has gradually become a rediscovered land of opportunity for Greek policymakers, representing the embodiment of a long-standing view that Greece has to strike a balance between its European, Balkan and Mediterranean foreign policy priorities. Initially, by building on the European Union's regional approach and, more recently, by supporting France’s Mediterranean initiative, Greece has encountered numerous opportunities to upgrade its international profile. After examining the changing Euro-Mediterranean setting and the parameters that shaped Greece's Foreign Policy during the Cold War and in the 1990s, this study focuses on Greece's increased involvement in Euro- Mediterranean affairs and the establishment of the Union of the Mediterranean. Assessing both the challenges and the opportunities that the new French initiative generates for the country's strategic and economic interests, the study concludes with guidelines for future action in the framework of the new Euro-Mediterranean structure, both regarding the implementation of cooperative projects of higher value for Greece and in view of further contributing to the wider process of systematizing regional relations. Dimitris K. Xenakis, Greece in a Changing Euro-Mediterranean Setting: Guidelines for Future Action, 48 pages, Euro-Med Research Monographs – No. 1, Hellenic Centre for European Studies, 2009, ISBN 9607849019
IN CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation seeks to contribute to the development of sustainable relations between actors from the Northern and the Southern Mediterranean especially in the field of security policy through promoting mutual understanding. As a think tank, the EAG, brings together the knowledge and experience of 10 security policy experts from both shores of the Mediterranean to elaborate policy recommendations on the latest political and secu-
rity developments in the Mediterranean Region on an ad-hoc basis. During its three meetings a year, the EAG members seek to adopt a broader understanding of security in discussing topics that the group has chosen and clearly defined in advance. The findings of the meetings are then presented in policy papers. Their content, despite reflecting the sometimes differing views and positions of the EAG members, is always agreed upon by the whole group. The policy papers are
then distributed among southern and northern representatives, such as politicians, policy makers, decision makers and researchers to serve as a basis for further discussions. In this way, European institutions benefit from the EAG’s independent and balanced views from the region while, at the same time, the understanding of the EU, its member states and its policies are promoted in the southern region. http://www.kas.de/proj/home/ home/18/2/webseite_id-7173/index.html
THE COMMISSION ON THE BLACK SEA The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the Unites States (GMFUS BST), Bucharest; the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh/Germany; the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Ankara; and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens; jointly developed the project and launched it in January 2009. The Commission on the Black Sea is an initiative, which aims to contribute to a joint vision and common strategy for the Black
Sea region by developing new knowledge on areas of key concern. Throughout 2009, the Commission will carry out a policy-oriented study on the future of the Black Sea region to be presented in a comprehensive report. At the same time, the Commission will also make related policy recommendations addressed to the main actors in the Black Sea context. http://www.blackseacom.eu
Faces from the Mediterranean Acknowledging the interdependence of the Black and the Mediterranean Seas and the importance to promote cooperation and enhance partnerships across regions, the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) hosted the photo exhibition of Eleni Fotiou entitled â€œFaces from the Mediterraneanâ€? between the 14th and the 27th October 2009 at the gallery of the Hellenic Photographic Society.
Under the auspices of
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