The nation states in the Black Sea area have initiated many co-operative policies but the area also sees numerous tensions between neighboring states. The conflict-co-operation paradox, along with ethnic fragmentation and shared culture, are two of the most salient features of the Black Sea Area. These paradoxes are not the only force in the evolution of the region though. There are also issues such as ethnic and national identity, the failure of democratization, energy and resources, as well as the influence of other powers such as Russia, the EU and the USA. The key questions asked by the authors in this book are: to what extent is there an emerging regionalism in the Black Sea area? Is the Black Sea a region? What are the common interests shared by the former USSR states, the three EU member states neighboring the Black Sea - Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, and a NATO country - Turkey? Are the fault-lines dividing them more pervasive than the incentives for cooperation? Can we speak of a shared identity? The first part of the book places the Black Sea problematique in a wider historical and spatial context. The authors then take a closer look at the region and examine further the structure of the Black Sea area. They offer a perspective on smaller actors with great ambitions, such as Azerbaijan and Romania, and go on to make a comparison between the emerging regionalism in the Black Sea area and regionalisms in other parts of the world.
Ruxandra Ivan is a Lecturer at the University of Bucharest, Fellow, Romanian Academy, Romania and Associate Researcher, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
'This is an exceptionally broad-ranging account of the significance of the Black Sea region. It covers everything from ancient history to comparative perspectives in the modern world, yet its clear focus on the nature of regionalism gives the work both coherence and relevance for the study of politics and international relations as a whole.' Karen Henderson, University of Leicester, UK 'A valuable contribution to the literature on the international politics of the Black Sea region. The chapters in this book provide a comprehensive overview of the divergent positions of the different actors in the Black Sea region...an excellent starting place for anyone wanting to understand the complexities and contradictions of Black Sea regionalism in the twenty-first century.' Andrew Cottey, University College Cork, Republic of Ireland 'At a crossroad between the former Soviet Union Southern Republics and the EU Eastern member states and Turkey, the Black Sea region is a controversial reality and remains underdeveloped and understudied. As such, Ruxandra's book provides a welcomed coherent collection of substantial chapters comparatively addressing the history, structure, and policies of this region. Both the multiple endogenous and exogenous factors of regional cooperation and conflict, notably US, EU and Russia, are taken into consideration and critically evaluated. The result is a well-focused and insightful contribution to the knowledge of progresses and shortcomings of a relevant part of regionalist comparative studies.' Mario Telo, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, and Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences 'This is a welcome and excellent addition to the literature on regionalism. An interdisciplinary team of scholars cover various aspects of Black Sea area regionalism and its limitations. Some chapters in this informative book also give valuable comparative perspectives that can contribute to conceptual and theoretical advances in regionalism studies.' Finn