The Neighbourhood Policy Paper series is meant to provide the policy, research and professional communities with expert input on many of the important issues and challenges facing, in particular, the Eastern neigh­borhood of the European Union today as they are written by relevant experts. The analysis provided along with the relevant policy recommenda­tions strives to be independent and not representative of any one particular perspective or policy. Most of these papers are also translated into Russian so that they are accessible to the Russian speaking world in an attempt to enlarge the scope of the dialogue and input on neighborhood-related issues. The key priority is to maintain the focus of the policy debate on the Black Sea Region and the wider region including its interaction with the Mediterranean South. The Neighbourhood Policy Papers are published jointly by the CIES and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation.

The Neighbourhood Policy Paper series are also accessible through the website of The German Marshall Fund of the United States.

They can also be found on the CIES page and on  the website of the Zurich-based  International Relations and Security Network (ISN), one of the world’s leading open access information services for international relations and security professionals.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 16

Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Persisting Security Challenge to the Black Sea Region ​by Igor Delanoë (July 2015)


The ongoing Ukrainian crisis has prompted deep security concerns with regard to the future of the relations between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic community on the one hand, and the security balance in the Black Sea region on the other hand. One of the possible outcomes of the crisis would be that raising tensions between Moscow and NATO could spark the deployment of systems with capabilities for precise strikes as well as tactical nuclear weapons (TNW). Moreover, the area remains a supplier and a transit zone for the black market of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) components, and a source of threat of nuclear terrorism. The risk of proliferation coming from the Middle East has furthermore strengthened the need for the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program under development in Romania. This paper argues that, although it is unlikely to see the deployment of new strategic weapons in the Black Sea region, an increasing number of TNWs could be dispatched in the area due to the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West. After considering WMDs as a persistent security challenge for the Black Sea region, the article however suggests that positive developments occurring in the Middle East related to the dismantlement of Syria’s chemical weapons could reverberate up to the Black Sea area.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 15

The European Neighbourhood Policy's Eastern Dimension: The Impact of the Ukrainian Crisis by Mykola Kapitonenko (July 2015)

The European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) is going through hard times. Growing turbulence on the EU borders implies huge security risks. These are not only soft transnational threats; they also include quite hard military and political challenges. The effectiveness of the European response is under question. Following the events in Ukraine and the spillover to Eastern Europe, the environment has become more hostile and difficult for the further implementation of the ENP. With the new geopolitical challenges produced by the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Europe faces the necessity to bring the policy towards the neighborhood, specifically in Eastern Europe, in line with the new realities. To that end, the Union should reassess the environment; formulate a strategy towards Russia; divide responsibilities between itself and its member states; and improve the ENP to make it more targeted, effective, and credible.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 14

A Polish-Romanian-Turkish Triangle and the Black Sea Region - A New Driving Force of Regional Integration? by Adam Balcer (June 2015)


In recent years, bilateral cooperation between Poland, Romania, and Turkey has increased significantly.  Moreover, a cooperation process between these three countries in a trilateral format was launched, though it remains still in the early stages. One of the key pillars of the trilateral cooperation process between Ankara, Bucharest, and Warsaw should be a common engagement with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The latter could serve as a locomotive of cooperation between the Eastern Partnership countries. The cooperation of the Polish-Romanian-Turkish triangle with the aforementioned three Eastern Partnership countries could increase their leverage in the Black Sea region through ‘pooling and sharing’ and would bring an added value to their engagement. In a long term perspective, a possible establishment of very close cooperation between the two triangles (Poland-Turkey-Romania and Georgia-Moldova-Ukraine) could be a game changer in the region and the most efficient instrument to strengthen the cooperation between the West and the EaP countries which is of crucial importance for the future of the region.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 13

3-For-1 for the Black Sea: 3x Development, 3x Soft Power by Ilia Roubanis (September 2013)

Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, the Black Sea is likely to suffer from the decline of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and/or remittances. Because most of the states in the region are very dependent on these capital flows, this is likely to have tremendous socioeconomic effects. This paper proposes a response founded on the idea that less capital could be more productive if deployed in the right manner. The policy framework proposed is inspired by the Mexican “3-for-1” model of collective remittances, proposing the reframing of development aid policy to work in synergy with migrant remittances. Such an approach would treat ODA as “seed capital,” thereby increasing the donor’s “soft power” and the growth of the receiving state. Focusing on the Black Sea region, this paper takes note of the conflicting interests, relative strengths and weaknesses of policy actors competing for soft power leverage in the region: the European Union (EU), Russia, Turkey, the United States (US), and corporate actors. It makes the case that such policy framing would, for those who would endorse it, provide a competitive edge.


Neighbourhood Policy Paper 12


Towards an Energy Revolution in the Eastern Mediterranean: Any Positive Effect for the EU? by Dorothée Schmid (March 2013)

Although identified early on as a policy priority by the European Union (EU), Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on energy matters has been until now more active at the planning and rhetorical level than in practice. The unexpected discovery of giant gas fields in the Levant Basin since 2009 might change the regional energy equation and impose a necessary review of European objectives in that regard. An energy revolution is indeed brewing in the Eastern Mediterranean, to be rationally integrated in the EU’s future economic outlook. The concrete economic impact for Europe is difficult to forecast as different alternative scenarios could prevail to exploit the Levant gas resources. The main consequences should be felt on the political end, as the fight to control resources will reinforce the power struggle between states, while the generalization of the rentier mindset could lead to weaker governance and more introversion.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 11

The South Caucasus Countries and Their Security Dimension by Eugene Kogan (March 2013)

The two unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus hang over Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia like the Sword of Damocles. As seen from every view point, Russia’s influence, levers and policy toward conflicts resolution remain the key issues. As long as Moscow maintains a status quo policy and keeps the outside actors at arm’s length from the region, the unresolved conflicts will continue to fester. The potential for a third conflict should not be underestimated, since all the necessary ingredients for an explosive situation are in place. The aloofness of President Barack Obama coupled with a politically divided and militarily impotent European Union makes conflicts resolution very remote, if it is at all possible. The continuing ambiguous position of NATO member states concerning the membership of Georgia in NATO makes things worse for Georgia and leaves it vulnerable to intimidation by Russia. Turkey’s ambitions are well-known, but Turkey alone is no match for Russia in the South Caucasus. So, what can be done to change the situation?

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 10

Arab Civil Society at the Crossroad of Democratization: the Arab Spring Impact by Stefanos Vallianatos (February 2013)

The uprisings that the Arab world has experienced since the end of 2010 have fundamentally affected all the countries of the region. In this context, while civil society has had a profound role to play, the level of development of civil associations in each of the countries of the region has not been irrelevant to the outcomes. The diversity in outcomes is matched by a similar differentiation in the nature of the states and regimes, with civil society experiencing a similar evolutionary path. This paper aims to identify the notion of civil society and its components vis-à-vis the Arab world, and accordingly to present a classification of the Arab states, based on the degree of the active presence of civil associations. The linkages between civil society and democracy are also explored. Finally the paper offers a set of policy suggestions with regard to the enhancement of Arab civil society.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 09

The EEAS and the European Neighbourhood Policy: A Change in Rhetoric or Reality? by Hrant Kostanyan (February 2013)

On the day (8 July 2010) that the European Parliament voted to approve the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy delivered her ‘Europe and the world’ speech in the Athens Concert Hall presenting the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as one of three priorities of the European Union’s (EU) external action. Approximately two and the half year after the famous speech, this article aims to examine the newly established EEAS’ collaboration with the member states and other EU institutions for the purpose of advancing the EU’s interest in the Eastern and Southern neighborhoods. The paper argues that the EEAS needs sufficient resources to bring added value to the neighborhood policy. The Service’s effort to reconceptualize the ENP as a tool through which the EU assists partner governments to conduct reforms could progress if the EEAS overcomes the double standards in dealing with the neighbors. Ultimately, gaining the trust of the member states, working closely with the Commission Directorates General and maintaining the support of the European Parliament are preconditions for the new-born EEAS to advance a qualitatively renewed ENP.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 08

The EU's Transport Policy within the Context of its Eastern and Southern Neighborhoods by Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos (February 2013)

The article examines the development of the EU’s transport policy within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and its extension to the EU’s Eastern and Southern Neighborhoods, through the Union for the Mediterranean, the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership. The paper argues that the splitting of the EU’s transport policies among many initiatives has not proven to be effective in achieving its goals. It underlines the fact, that while the policies themselves are substantial, they rarely reach the implementation phase. The important transport-related activities of the BSEC, UNECE and the private sector are proposed to be taken into consideration by the EU and integrated into its policies.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 07

The Weakest Link? Hedging Energy Security Challenges and Opportunities within the Eastern Neighborhood, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea/Caspian Region by Slawomir Raszewski (February 2013)

The shift from oil to gas has inevitably led to the emergence of regional energy politics with a growing number of stakeholders involved in influencing and shaping the energy security discussion. What used to be predominantly the sovereign decision of a state has now become a subject of discussion which, owing to geological, political and often security constraints, may have an effect on the success of a policy. The regional aspect of energy politics is particularly potent with regard to natural gas. This is especially the case with regard to the broader geographical space comprising of the Eastern Neighborhood, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea/Caspian region. With the world’s largest proven gas reserves to be found in this tripartite ‘Shared Neighborhood’, inevitably the dynamics of natural gas politics have conflated, demanding new solutions.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 06

Protracted Conflicts in the Eastern Neighborhood: Between Averting Wars and Building Trust by Stanislav Secrieru (January 2013)

While working to seal off Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia after the 2008 war, Russia promised to play a constructive role in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Transnistrian conflict. This paper aims to assess how Russia delivered on its renewed peace-making pledge. It also will spell out how Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova have reacted to the new Russian undertaking to revive negotiations within the Minsk Group, the “5+2” format or other formulas with the direct participation of Moscow. The paper will address how other international stakeholders have adapted to the 2008 post-conflict situation and will uncover the developments relevant for the conflict resolution process in the breakaway regions. It will conclude with an analysis on prospective strategies to be employed by all sides and regional players in dealing with the conflicts in the Eastern neighborhood and what could be done in 2013 to push the negotiations forward.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 05


Turkey and the New Energy Politics of the Black Sea Region by Mitat Çelikpala (January 2013)

Turkey signed two significant energy agreements at the end of 2011. As a consequence, these accords set off a new competition for natural gas-centered energy projects around Turkey. Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Iran and the European Union are the main actors in this contest. This paper aims to assess all the related and ensuing developments in the Black Sea Region through the lenses of Turkey’s role, strategy and priorities.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 04


Putin's 'Eurasian Union': Russia's Integration Project and Policies on Post-Soviet Space by Hannes Adomeit (July 2012)


This paper assesses the rationale behind and the potential of the 'Eurasian Union' project that is being promoted by Vladimir Putin. The author suggests that the project is connected with Russia’s tug of war with the European Union (EU) regarding the common neighbourhood as well as its attempts to secure a sphere of influence in Central Asia in order to counteract the perceived growing Chinese threat. Russia’s policies towards Belarus and Ukraine are evaluated as both countries are particularly relevant in assuring the successful implementation of the project. Finally, the author asserts that Russia’s activism threatens the EU as it creates dividing lines between proponents of an interests-based policy towards Russia and those that consider values to be equally relevant.


Neighbourhood Policy Paper 03

The European Neighbourhood Policy's First Decade in the Eastern Neighbourhood by Elena Gnedina and Nicu Popescu (July 2012)

This article looks at the first decade of the European Union’s (EU) neighborhood policy vis-à-vis its Eastern neighbors. In this period, the EU undoubtedly developed and intensified its relations with most of its eastern neighbors, but has hardly managed to ‘change’ them or significantly alter the course of their development. The article looks into the successes and failures of the EU. It argues that in the last decade the degree of interdependence in trade, security and political domain between the EU and its neighbors increased dramatically. This made the EU become more involved than ever in the political developments in its neighborhood. However the EU has not succeeded in turning its growing political and economic presence into power, i.e., the ability to achieve what it wants. The reasons for this include the political centralization among most of EU’s eastern partners; the fact that these states did not commit to pro-EU policies, choosing instead ‘multi-vector’ foreign policies; and the fact that the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was a third-tier priority for the EU.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 02

Black Sea Regionalism in Perspective by Panagiota Manoli (December 2011)

Black Sea regionalism is a process that already has a twenty year lifespan. This paper presents a snapshot of the characteristics and dynamics of the cooperative processes that have emerged around the Black Sea region and makes some policy recommendations aimed at rendering regionalism more efficient. It argues that the geography and structure of cooperation should follow the principle of functional relationships. It further on recommends that the priority for EU and other interested actors is to foster necessary facilitative preconditions (economic, social and political) for cooperation that are still weak or absent rather than build new top-down institutions.

Neighbourhood Policy Paper 01

The Role and Potential of the Organization of the BSEC by Sergiu Celac (November 2011)

In the run-up to the 20th anniversary summit of the BSEC to be held in the summer of 2012, the paper argues that the continued relevance of the organization in regional and European affairs now largely depends on its ability to re-evaluate its past performance and to adjust to the requirements of the 21st century. The author advances a set of practical suggestions, conceived as a contribution to the on-going debate on a new strategic design for the BSEC in the next decade focusing on sustainability as ‘the new mantra’ of regional development. Concrete steps are detailed in the priority areas where a cooperative approach in a regional format is desirable and realistically feasible by providing value added compared to individual country efforts.