Материалы для чтения the four freedoms as part of europeanization process: conditions and effectiveness of the eu impact

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Материалы для чтения the four freedoms as part of europeanization process: conditions and effectiveness of the eu impact

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Regions and the Four Freedoms



  • setting higher standards in information transparency;

  • setting higher ecological standards


- competition for investments between regions


- fostering professional exchanges

Agenda for Further Research

Firstly, there is a close linkage between the concept of the Four Freedoms and the idea of the Four Common Spaces.



Dr. Andrey S.Makarychev,

Professor of International Relations & Political Science,

The Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University

PONARS Policy Memo

December 2005, Washington, D.C.

(First draft)


In this memo I argue that the shape of Russia’s border with her immediate European neighbours is constructed through a variety of trans-border initiatives each having its own region-building potential. These initiatives, however, lack a single center. Trans-border region-building projects could be results of the European Union (EU) policy (the case of the Northern Dimension), may have been conceived by a non-EU country (Norway and its Barents-Euroarctic project), or stimulated from outside of Europe, namely by the United States (the Northern European Initiative).

Therefore, the question under consideration is the way the political space is being constructed and reinvented in the immediate vicinity to the Russian western borders. It is in this context that I venture to deploy the alleged Baltic – Black Sea Region (BBSR) which may be interpreted as one more section in the chain of the region-building initiatives directly affecting Russia.

What is common for all these regional moves is that they constitute a peculiar type of projects aimed at (re)constructing the Europe – Russia margins. My approach is premised upon an understanding of a project as a constructionist move that stitches different social practices of trans-border communication. Projects are tools for (re)constructing the zones of close interaction between the regional actors involved, and in this capacity they represent intellectual products based upon creativity and innovative thinking. Projects produce new modes of conduct as well as images and discourses to be used as transferable templates for reshaping the trans-border space(s). The “technological” language of the project-based approach (PBA) is probably best exemplified by the metaphors of “laboratory” and “territorial engineering”. In this interpretation, the PBA might be read in its most literal/original sense, as a gesture of extrapolating (projecting) certain norms/principles/values onto a specific territorial ground. This understanding of “project-ness” – seen through the prism of a strategy of self-reinforcement - makes it part of the leadership discourse and, therefore, raises the issue of identifying its key actors.

The BBSR is a peculiar type of regions-in-the-making due to a number of reasons. First, it is an example of a project with dispersed subjectivity. At least two different region-building subjects could be singled out at the first glance.

Predominantly, the BBSR is being viewed as a U.S.-inspired project. Indeed, it was the United States that stood behind a series of earlier departures that laid foundation for what could be called the Baltic – Black Sea connection nowadays, to include the GUUAM initiative (named after the initial letters of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Moldova) in the beginning of 1990s and the three Baltic countries’ efforts to share their transitional experiences – basically in security field – with the much more problematic and vulnerable Caucasian nations. The American policy towards the BBSR is part of the U.S. endeavours to stimulate the creation of a “New Europe” as a separate and rapidly growing segment of the European political landscape. In some sense, the BBSR’s coming into being could be viewed as a series of actions rooted in the New Europe’s rising geopolitical self-assertiveness, mainly vis-à-vis Russia.

Yet under a closer scrutiny, one may assume that another important actor – namely, the EU - is also involved (though more indirectly) into the moulding of the BBSR. Having confirmed the perspectives of the accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005, the EU acknowledged the increasing importance of the Black Sea area in its enlargement strategy.

The EU, certainly, has its own vision of the future of the BBSR manifested through a variety of region-building initiatives, with the European Neighbourhood Policy at their core. Presumably, this vision is based upon the EU policy of creating a friendly area of proximity consisted of geographically adjacent countries that are supposed to share basic European values. Neither of the EU-promoted policies in this region contradicts to the political logic embedded in the joint Ukrainian – Georgian statement heralding about the forming of the BBSR.

Despite some operational divergences between Washington (concentrated mainly on security dimension of the region-building project) and Brussels (focused basically on norm projection), the BBSR could be nevertheless interpreted as an area of the US – EU “joint venture”, a zone of dual actorship, though the roles between the two key poles of influence are distributed unevenly. In this sense, the BBSR draws upon the earlier Nordic – Baltic Sea region-building process that also used to become an example of overlapping region-building initiatives (the geographical area of the EU-sponsored Northern Dimension coincided with the U.S.-promoted Northern European Initiative). These two vectors, with all specificity of each of them, seem to be, as in the case of the Nordic – Baltic Sea regionalism, mutually reinforcing and tend to complement each other.

However, on a deeper level of interrogation, one can identify another source of the emergence of the BBSR. Paradoxically, it is Russia who also contributes in her own peculiar way to the appearance of the BBSR (at least in epistemological, if not ontological, sense).

It could be assumed that it is in Russia’s interest to make some efforts to deconstruct the “Baltic – Black Sea” liaison both politically and semiotically. Moreover, Russia has a vast experience of dividing her neighbours and tackling them separately – thus, Lithuania, as the closest Russian partner among the three Baltic states, is usually contrasted with more “unfriendly” Latvia and Estonia; Finland, being the most trustful of Russia’s interlocutors in the Northern Europe, could be opposed to Denmark, while basically pro-Russian Armenia is pictured much more positively than allegedly pro-American Georgia.

However, this logic does not seem to work in the case of the BBSR. Most of the Russian experts and opinion makers do exactly the opposite – they not only acknowledge the existence of the BBSR but, what is more noteworthy, make use of it as a basis for subsequent reflections. In Lacanian terms it could be, therefore, posited that Russia badly needs the imagined BBSR in order to corroborate some of her foreign policy assumptions. Instead of trying to demise the coherence/cohesiveness of this “imagined entity” and, therefore, to avoid a frontal collision with a group of her neighbours, Russia prefers to use this region-building project as a means of symbolically constructing her identity vis-а-vis (as opposed to) allegedly unfriendly “New Europe”. It could be expected that the BBSR may turn into a “New Other” for Russia, an “unidentifiable political object” which, nevertheless, may be pragmatically utilized for nourishing Russian nationalist feelings.

Secondly – and this is related to what was said above - the BBSR-building process is an obvious example of highly political project. This is so because of its clearly state-centric background and the transgressive nature of its geopolitical foundations. The whole idea of constructing a region that comprises territories between the two far-away seas rests upon a new wave of post-Soviet democracies manifested through drastic changes of political regimes in Ukraine and Georgia. Therefore, it is the political logic that dominates and substantiates the very existence of the BBSR.

Again, it has to be noted that Russia accepts this political logic in her own way, namely through deploying the BBSR in a conceptual framework consisting of ideas of “false” and “true” Europe. «False Europe», as understood by some of Russian policymakers, by and large corresponds with the BBSR realm and includes countries with strong anti-Russian sentiments and those having lost the «genuine European values», while the «true Europe» is arguably populated by friendly to Russia nations adhered to what Russia considers as “the original spirit of Europe”. What is telling is a logical nexus between the two different parameters identifiable in the Russian vision of the “true – false” dichotomy: presumably, this is the evaporation of the national spirit that leads some of the European countries to Russia’s “black list”. In other words, some of the nations could be placed in a “false” category exactly because they have deviated from what Russia treats as the European mainstream. Put it differently, through articulating the idea of “false Europe”, Russia tries not only to exhibit her own European identity but also to identify her own “circle of friends”.

Thirdly, being an ostensibly political project, the BBSR doest not seem to contain a great deal of de-bordering potential, which makes it quite distinctive from, for example, the Northern Dimension. Supposedly, it is the political nature of the BBSR that turns it into a regional instrument of fixing the modified and relocated West – East borders. It obviously does not suit Russia which in the long run faces the perspective of being excluded of the EU-Europe or pushed to its periphery.

Concluding Notes

The process of shaping the EU – Russia borders could be conceptualized as a series of project-based moves, with different degree of efficacy and practicability. In this sense, the PBA is a politically neutral devise, since it can be adjusted to a wide spectrum of policy arrangements – from border-drawing to border-unmaking, and from state-centric (hierarchical) to networking (horizontal).

The BBSR region is a political project with multiple and, therefore, dispersed (and sometimes even hidden) subjectivity. The United States exemplifies an actor-driven type of influence, though this country does not seem to be always eager going public with sponsoring this initiative. The European Union, in its turn, gives an example of structural impact based upon imposing a set of norms and values compatible with the spirit of Europeanization. Russia’s is an influence by opposition. To a significant extent, Moscow needs the Baltic – Black Sea nexus in order to be properly equipped with an argument pointing to the U.S. alleged policy of encircling Russia and undermining her influence in the post-Soviet area. The BBSR appears to be a perfect example of a “bad/false Europe”, which is: a) eager to relinquish its sovereignty for security gains (expressed basically in geopolitical terms), b) wishing to more strictly formalize the EU principles applicable to Russia, and c) reluctant to buy Russian claims for her exceptionality. Russia appears to challenge the geopolitical content of the BBSR initiative and de-valorize it, while accepting the very existence of this region as a “discursive fact”, to use the Foucauldian vocabulary.

In the meantime, an alternative approach could be tried, namely that one of questioning the very essence of regional integration in this extremely variegated – politically, culturally and socially - area. This exercise in deconstruction will need a radically different semantic approach and a significantly more sophisticated discursive strategy of public communication with individual countries like Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. In the meanwhile, the question of how the zones of the overlapping EU – Russian margins will be managed remains intriguingly open.


Dr. Andrey S.Makarychev

The Nordic – Baltic region (NBR) and the Black Sea region (BSR) play peculiar and rather important roles in the areas of EU – Russia «overlapping near abroads». Geographically both are located at Europe’s “margins”, yet most of the regional actors deem that their most natural partners are primarily in the West. What is common for Baltic and Black Sea political discourses is that both of them are related to the image(s) of the sea which, in its turn, connote with the representations of travel and historical memories. The sea is both a geographical unit and a spatial and cultural symbol in a possession of a great deal of cultural value which may entail symbols of cooperation (in terms of de-bordering) or security threats (from old-day piracy to modern geopolitical rivalry)18.

Quite recently a number of scholars aired the idea that the Nordic / Baltic list of accomplishments may provide a framework suggesting how the questions of common concern can be handled cooperatively, including the cases of Ukraine, Moldova, and even the Caucasus. The basic argument surfaced at this juncture is that the experience of the Nordic / Baltic Europe has produced quite valuable lessons that can be in one way or another rearticulated and exported southwards.

The discourse on the hypothetical «Black Sea dimension» is by now obviously very immature and uncertain. On the one hand, there is some understanding that the Baltic and the Nordic experiences could try to energize the Black Sea integration; yet on the other hand, it is doubtful that the actors in the Black Sea region may be able to reproduce the Baltic / Nordic model of regionalism19. Some scholars tend to think that the Black Sea area region is rather a place than a region.

Are the Baltic and Black Sea regions laboratories of new models of conceptualizing and constructing the regions? In which sense one may think of Baltic and Black Sea experiments in region building? Does Baltic / Nordic Europe have something to offer to other «marginal» areas like the Black Sea region? These are the questions I am going to address in this article.

Theoretical Frame of Debates

My analysis is based on understanding of margins presented by a group of European scholars of constructivist and peace research background. In this conceptualization, one has to differentiate between:

  • Borders” that are treated as geographical lines / zones that separate two territorial entities;

  • The notion of “frontier” with its defensive connotation requiring that something has to be done with regard to what lies beyond20;

  • Terms with more or less negative meanings like “edges” and “peripheries” (synonymous with underdevelopment, lack of stability and exposure to external dangers). Russian political and cultural geographers describe peripheries as remote outskirts, or outlaying – and usually fragmented - territories with obliterated features, the areas that heavily depend upon the policies of the pivotal powers;

  • Margins” that are, in Joenniemi’s and Browning’s reading, not only products of core powers, but exist in two-way relations with these powers21. Margins are important components of the international policy constellations because they usually have a room to maneuver and a meaningful degree of freedom in exploiting their location. Politically, margins are increasingly reluctant to accept that the core speaks for them; moreover, they may define the nature of the core itself. Culturally, the regional identities are believed to be dependent upon interrelations between central and marginal entities22.

Of course, the spatial distinction between the «center(s)» and the «margin(s)» is by no means pre-given or static. Both regions under consideration could be viewed as interesting examples of territories that are marginal vis-a-vis certain central powers, yet in their relations with others try to present themselves as the cores23. Poland (and to a certain extent Lithuania) in the Baltic region and Romania in the Black Sea are perhaps the cases in point making us conclude that the «center» and the «periphery» (or the «core» and the «margins») are not mutually exclusive or antagonistic entities/constructs, since they may easily interpenetrate and converge. For the sake of spatial extension the center's elites (as exemplified, for instance, by the Brussels decision makers) may need to gain loyalty from the margins. The margins themselves might be interested in demonstrating this loyalty in order to ensure their security challenged by the outsiders24 that are explicitly and intentionally represented as backward and underdeveloped, on the one hand, and as sources of threats (having in mind human traffic, communicable diseases, poaching, etc.) on the other.

In the mean time, as different (and competing) centers are on the scene, we may observe the phenomenon of «overlapping margins». The EU and Russia are facing this challenge in troublesome areas of what used to be the Soviet Union, with Trans-Dniestria as one of several examples of this sort.

The Core Actors: the E.U., Russia and the United States
The most important common point for the Nordic/Baltic and the Black Sea patterns of regionalism is that both are about E.U. – Russia – U.S. interaction in the marginal areas.
The United States: Confirming the Leadership

The U.S. vision of emerging spatial configurations in both regions is influenced by the idea of the «New» and the «Old» Europe, which departs from the conclusion that in post-September 11 world the traditional East - West distinction is obsolete and no longer valid. What traditionally used to be perceived as the «core» (consisting of the Franco-German nexus) was met, in the context of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld articulation, with efforts of exclusion, while some of the Europe’s «freshmen» were elevated to the position of forerunners25. Needless to say that from the part of the «Old Europe» itself this concept was interpreted as divisive and undermining the whole idea of European integration, and even raised some fears about the «New Europe» becoming U.S. 'Trojan horses' in the Union26.

The idea of «Eastern Dimension» (ED) is very much linked to the «New Europe» concept. It stems form Poland's articulation of its own understanding of security which may differ from those established among EU «founding fathers». The ED that in a way seems to be developed as the first political product of the “New Europe”, has made Poland a major source of policy initiatives directly applicable to the areas of EU – Russia's «overlapping margins».

In the Black Sea region, the «New Europe» concept is embedded in a different regional context. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the U.S. has given no clear commitments to the post-socialist Black Sea countries. One explanation of the fact that Bulgaria and Romania were temporarily left beyond NATO is that “they had not been central to the Cold War strategic equation and, therefore, did not warrant the same degree of interest in the West” as the Visegrad countries and the Baltic republics did. This was also because they were always further behind other candidates in terms of political and economic development27.

Current U.S. strategy in the BSR is based on the increasing importance of Bulgaria and Romania in protecting American security interests after September 11, 2001. This idea resonates quite well among the BSR countries. Mircea Geoana, foreign minister of Romania, has noted that “the center of gravity of NATO and the EU is shifting south and east”, since the Black Sea countries are devoted to “democratize, modernize and bring prosperity to the nations of the Middle East, Afghanistan and Central Asia”28. There were some successful attempts to stress a new security identity in the Europe’s South-Eastern margins. The cases in point are South-Eastern European Initiative on “Counter-proliferation, Border Security and Counter-terrorism”, along with Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group, Multinational Peace Force South-Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe Brigade, Multinational Engineer Battalion between Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. In the aftermath of September 11, Turkey tried to make use of security argument in its negotiations with the EU, while Bulgaria and Romania – in their capacity as “New Europe” nations - are both eager to underline their contribution to the U.S.-led military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq as most important factors in their relations with NATO29.

It is overwhelmingly the «New Europe» discourse that constitutes the background for policy transfer practices, as exemplified for instance by the recently established «3+3» initiative aimed at promoting closer interaction between the three Baltic States and three Caucasian republics. Lithuania, in presenting itself as «the executive arm of NATO and EU» in the Caucasian region, wishes to become a bridge between it and the West30. Estonia too – under strong influence of the United States - has recently made initial efforts to establish political liaisons with Georgia and Azerbaijan31. These endeavors are in tune with the America's and NATO's intentions to bring more certainty to their policies in the Caucasus32, which is taken by many in the EU as a challenge33.
The European Union: Setting the Limits of Integration

The EU attitudes towards both regions under consideration have to analyzed through the prism of widely spread view of the peripheral regions to be integrated more firmly into the core34. This mainstream approach is referred to as «Europeanization», meaning by that a process of wider transformation of legal norms, domestic rules, and beliefs and expectations35. From there stems the intention to contribute to the resolution of a number of «frozen» border conflicts in EU – Russia common neighborhood36. The EU, in theory, is intended to use different strategies of conflict management (regulation) and conflict transformation (the realignment of subject positions from incompatibility to tolerance)37. There are a number of paths of influence of EU politics in neighboring areas, like:

  • «compulsory impact» (the EU directly addresses the political leaders through offering positive and negative incentives);

  • «enabling impact» (identity-changes at the elite level);

  • «connective impact» (the EU directly approaches local societal actors);

  • «constructive impact» (changing the scripts of identity constructions)38.

There is little doubt that the best way of reducing the security threats in the European margins is their integration with the EU39, but the question is what has to be done if the integration is not a feasible option. Incentives and conditionality work properly only when eventual membership is at stake40. The pivotal problem is that the EU can’t afford locking its door for neighboring countries, because this closure will lead to much clear fixation of the West-East symbolic border, and will eventually turn a number of countries into a sphere of EU – Russia covert competition. In this sense, the EU has good reasons to treat the Black Sea integration as a part of building the common European expanse, bearing in mind at the same time that opening the doors to the east will result in internal weakening of the Union and complication of its decision making procedures.

The EU has reiterated that differentiation is a key notion in its neighborhood policy. Yet on a deeper level of analysis, the problem is that enlargement – as the example of Kaliningrad shows - might become «a catalyst in creating an 'issue' which would otherwise not have emerged… and the EU's impact can sometimes lead to the intensification of (existing) conflicts or to the creation of new ones»41. There is a feeling that at certain juncture the much advertised EU-sponsored “peace project” may come to a halt; put differently, the EU is faced with serious limitations in projecting its peace-related identity across the new borders42.

In this context it might be relevant to take into account that Europe’s self-perceptions are framed in a variety of ways. One vision is conceptualized in the «Olympic rings» metaphor, while the second is embodied in the «concentric circles» concept. The former spells further regionalization, while the latter implies that «the EU’s power to extend its order project from the center towards the outer circles is understood as lessening the further along the circles one moves from the center»43. «As a state successfully learns from the center, it advances in its transition … from the outside towards the inside»44. In other words, the «semi-insiders» (like Bulgaria or Rumania, for example) are integrated with the EU along more numerous policy sectors and to a greater extent than the «close outsiders» like Ukraine or even more obviously Russia.

The discourse on marginality coupled with «Old» - «New» and «concentric circles» - «Olympic rings» constructs implies that no country in Europe wants to be a ‘frontier state’ in a divisive sense, but many are keen to shoulder the role of a “bridge”, or an intermediary (Poland perhaps is the most typical case)45. The so called “new geometries” of regionalism pose a serious challenge for post-socialist countries since their long-awaited sovereignty (with borders at its core) “came at a time when the modern concept of the independent nation-state was no longer perceived as a viable”46.

Russia: Redefining Centrality

Russia is another important actor involved in both Baltic and Black Sea cooperation schemes, yet its subjectivity within either «center-periphery» or «core-margins» conceptualizations of political space is more questionable than in two cases discussed earlier. Some authors deem that it would be most appropriate to refer to Russia as «poly-periphery», meaning by this that some parts of the country are prone to lean to external «gravitation poles»47. It may be debated whether Russia qualifies indeed for the status of the «core power», and if it does, in what terms we are to comprehend Russia's «centrality».

One way of (re)asserting Russia’s «centrality» is via prioritization of security and geopolitics, two classical tenants of Realpolitik, over regionality and trans-nationalism. Identity and power are the two most reliable concepts of centrality widely employed by Russian students of the NBR and BSR. With rare exceptions, Russia tends to treat Baltic and Black Sea countries as “small states” that have a limited capacity for foreign policy action on their own48. For Russia, the BSR members of the CIS are perceived as potential troublemakers: relations with Ukraine are complicated by its increasingly decisive orientation towards EU and NATO, while Georgia and Azerbaijan were the first post-Soviet countries whom Russia has put in the visa list.

Since Russia has traditionally played the role of the “Big Other” for national identities of many post-socialist states, the Russian policy makers perceive some of their initiatives with irritation, as an indication of their ambitions in Russia’s “backyard”. In some respects, Russia feels more comfortable in dealing directly with the EU than with countries that were baptized as «New Europe». Yet it seems that the “big game” between Russia and the EU is played by different rules by each of the two “cores of strength” involved. Brussels intends to minimize the “gray zone”, a territory between EU and Russia, while Moscow fears that the rules offered, if not imposed by the EU will eventually lead to the loss of Russia’s subjectivity in Eastern and Central Europe. As Michael Emerson argues, «the EU and Russia are presently heading towards a situation of mutual exclusion»49.

The Russian attitudes to the EU – Russia «overlapping margins» may be partly comprehended in terms of the concept of “false Europe” which, presumably, separates Russia from the “true Europe50. Iver Neuman’s terminological opposition between the ‘true’ and ‘false’ Europe was recently picked up by Viacheslav Morozov who suggests that «this complex structure of the world as it looks from Russia always makes it possible to dismiss certain political positions as being ‘falsely European’ and to insist on the role of the Russian state as the defender of the ‘true’ European values»51. In a way, the reflections on «false» and «true» Europe are a part of wider discursive battles for defining the essence of Europe, with each part involved insisting on representing the «genuine Europe»52.

Yet the «false» vs. «true Europe» thinking departs from the premises that are different from the «Old» - «New Europe» formula. A number of Russian thinkers indirectly challenge the «Old» - «New» Europe scheme as articulated by the U.S., offering an alternative – and fairy radical - vision of this dichotomy. Within Russian nationalistic discourse it is Russia who ought to claim its rights to be «a New Europe» - not so much geographically but rather in a spiritual sense. «Russia as a New Europe» discourse is very much mixed with «false» - «true» Europe contraposition and is premised on alleged cultural and mental degradation of the «former Europe» («post-Europe») and Russia's presumed ability to turn into a country that might be able to keep and nurture the «real Europeanness»53, whatever it might mean.

In the meantime, other trends are also underway. There is a growing understanding in both political and academic circles of Russia of the need to move from geopolitics to geoeconomics, from ideology to functional technicalities, from securitization to de-securitization, from “complot theory” lamentations to looking for new openings and chances. Reacting to the NATO and EU eastward expansion, Russia tries to understand what are the risks and what are the mechanisms that might play down the anxieties and concerns.

In 2001 the Russian government has approved the Concept of Trans-border Cooperation, which on several occasions mentions the need to take into account the peculiarities of Russia’s border regions54. The Doctrine of the Development of Russia’s North West assumes that for integration into a European milieu, the regions need special managerial techniques, based on human capital, the culture of innovation, and non-governmental networking55. In 2002, Russian State Duma has ratified the European Framework Convention on Trans-Border Cooperation”. «Soft security» discourse gets more prominence all across Russia, and it has to be seen not as an alternative to “hard security”, but as an attempt to demonstrate that there is a human dimension of security which is increasingly perceived as public policy phenomenon (in particular, the “Strategia” Center from St.Petersburg deserves much credit for putting this issue in the policy agenda and for including the concepts of transparency and openness into security framework56). What is common for the hard and soft security agendas is their concentration on a variety of border issues. Yet these are not the border problems as being understood in modernist sense (because it is not about delineation or delimitation); a more complex set of issues is gradually emerging, that one that is only partially molded by the states and that has to be analyzed in such non-state terms as cultural identities, economic flows, trans-national exchanges, etc.

Yet even in its most positive and constructive versions the Russia’s policies are flawed. Russia failed to elaborate a more or less clear set of instruments that she feels feasible to use in its neighborhood policy, either in the Baltic region or in the Black Sea. This uncertainty negatively contrasts with the existence of the EU’s list of specific tools that might and will be utilized in relations with the adjacent countries, to include political dialogue, agreements, economic measures, development assistance, emergency relief, support for rehabilitation, etc.57

Last but not the least, one of most serious conceptual traps that may tremendously affect Russia's credibility is its «policy of exceptionality» practiced towards Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia and Adzharia. In fact, the visa waiver policy conducted by Russia in these break-away republics of Georgia represents an even more radical version of those prescriptions for Kaliningrad oblast coming from outside that Russia itself fiercely objects.

To sum up, Russia faces strong challenges in the Black Sea region. Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to NATO may make reappear the contours of the Baltic security scene, with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia being accepted as the members of trans-Atlantic security community58. Perhaps, in the future Moscow has three options: get involved in a direct conflict with the U.S. and the EU in these areas, find itself pushed away from there59, or start to negotiate compromise solutions – the sooner, the better.
Between Margins and Peripheries? Discursive Conceptualizations
A theory of marginality, as I have tried to demonstrate, is in different ways linked to a number of conceptualizations of political space in Europe, each one having more or less explicit connotations with the three «centers of gravity» discussed above. The questions raised pertain to the intersection of changing nature of both geographical borders and mental boundaries.

In Parker’s terms, most of BSR countries (especially Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine) could be described as ‘marginal’ because of their “in-between” location. Yet unlike other more successful ‘margins’ such as Finland and Poland, these countries have failed to consistently develop their own version of “marginality strategy”.
Perspectives of Replicating «Positive Marginality» Agenda in the Black Sea Region

There is some potential for creating inclusive, de-bordering policy milieu in the Black Sea region. All three core actors (EU, the United States and Russia) are eager to project onto the BSR certain experiences that have been earlier developed and demonstrated their success in the Baltic Europe. The EU may be particularly interested in exporting the Northern Dimension model to the Europe’s southeast. These perspectives have to be analyzed in terms of ‘policy transfer’ concept which usually refers to a process whereby knowledge about governance, administrative management, and social institutions is used across time and space in the development of new policies60. Policy transfer is one of the most important mecahnisms of regionalization, which illustrates a kind of divorce between power and territoriality. Due to policy transfer the centers of policy influence and policy shaping might be located beyond the geographical boundaries of this or that region.

De-securitization of the Baltic region-building project has invigorated the proliferation of soft-security concerns, like depopulation, migration, poaching, corruption, etc. Issues of common consideration include trading energy across the borders, economic efficiency and due financial management. The growing segments of political, economic and social exchanges increasingly stay out of control of the bureaucratic centralities, which gives a green light to non-central actors.

What also can be derived from the NBR list of achievements is that institutions are seen there as the “structures of incentives” to set practices applicable to a variety of spheres – like domestic rules of business regulations, environment protection and product safety standards, norms of housing and sanitation, public amenities, exploitation of non-renewable resources, preservation of cultural heritage, safety of technical supply, regulation of land use, reducing pollution, water purification methods, upgrading health care system, training programs for civil servants and rescue service agents, etc. In other words, instead of asking “where the funds might be found”, public authorities are gradually getting used to think in terms of “how to set new rules of the game” for effective marketing, accessibility of public goods and services, and public debates in communities61. In the BSR, technical, politically neutral and low-profiled issues should also be given priority in trans-boundary relations. These issues might be put in the «Caucasian agenda» of countries like Poland, Lithuania and Estonia that have recently marked their intentions to play some role(s) at Europe's south-east neighborhood but presumably are still in search for more or less clear format of their involvement. Perhaps the policy transfer from the Baltic to the Europe's south is one of the roles entrusted to the «New Europe» countries by both the United States and the EU.

Also important is that some experiments with “playing on the margins” are in progress. In particular, there are some examples of trilateral cooperation linkages like Romania – Greece – Bulgaria, Romania – Turkey – Bulgaria, Romania – Poland – Ukraine, Romania – Hungary – Austria, Romania – Moldova – Ukraine, or port cities like Poti – Varna – Ilyichovsk. GUUAM (the regional organization to unite Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) is an institution that tries to make use of its non-central location and take the in-between stand, to be simultaneously “in” and “out” of the Russian and/or EU spheres of influence. Probably, GUUAM has some potential for contributing to making the political space in the Black Sea and adjacent areas less fixed and more fluid. On the negative side is that GUUAM is the regional initiative overtly sponsored from outside, which testifies to the fact that the member countries are rather objects of policies of the U.S., and to lesser extent – of the E.U.

In the mean time, many developments in the Black Sea area push this region in a direction opposite to the ND-like dimensionalism. The Black Sea countries, generally speaking, have failed to turn themselves from peripheries to margins, in Parker’s terms, and to occupy the policy niches of their own. The BSR has a long way to go for at least nearing to what is usually called «new regionalism» (i.e. less protectionist and more open form of regional integration)62. Here are the main hindrances for policy transfer from the Baltic to the Black Sea region.

First, most of the Black Sea nations keep perceiving their foreign policies in divisive terms. Nationalism is one of major driving forces in the region. As a Turkish expert argues, “Turkey seems to be too hard a security actor to be digested within the EU’s soft-security environment… The ruling Turkish elite continues to regard developments outside its borders as security threats to its national integrity and territory”, the stand that has not fundamentally diverged from Westphalian principles63. The same is true for Russia who has a long record of perceiving the formation of sub-regional groupings (like GUUAM) as a challenge to Moscow domination in the CIS64.

Second, relations between the Black Sea countries are highly competitive. Bulgaria, for example, deems inappropriate to be treated by the EU the same way as Romania65, while Romania takes Bulgaria as a competitor. An expert from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense would presume that the Baltic States are somehow better positioned in the security scene, and concludes that a shift in political attention from Black Sea / South-Eastern Europe “might have unpredictable consequences”66. Ukraine also fears to become isolated in the aftermath of Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession to NATO and subsequently to the EU. The more competitive the Black Sea environment is, the less enthusiasm is shown by major regional actors to invest their efforts and resources to the regional cooperation.

To some extent, this situation reminds of Poland’s tacit reluctance to full-fledge involvement in the Baltic Sea region building project in 1990s. The element that most weakens the de-bordering potential of the Eastern Dimension initiative was Poland’s reluctance to refer to Baltic integration as a way of legitimizing the EU Eastern policy. Since the main strategic purpose of post-socialist transition in Poland has been a “return to Europe”, throughout most of the 1990s it was feared that closer Baltic integration might prevent Poland from becoming a member of the Euro-Atlantic security community.

Third, major economic actors in the Black Sea region are reluctant to economically foster regional integration. According to a Russian economist, trans-national corporations should not be regarded as de-bordering actors since most of them are interested in cooperating with small and weak states than with strong integrative institutions67. Another negative economic factor is that for the bulk of the Black Sea countries, the trade with the regional neighbors plays only minor role in their foreign commerce, which proves the lack of rational division of economic tasks and resources within this region68.

Fourth, political discourses in the Black Sea nations are burdened by past self-conceptualizations. Romania gives a good example of that kind of attitudes, having described itself as a country “suffering from a myriad of history-induced anxieties, phobias, and national ego problems, accentuated by its position at the crossroads of Western, Slavic and Middle East cultures. There is a fear of Russia threatening the country and of Hungarians plotting to reconquer Transylvania; the constant feeling of victimization, of being stabbled in the back or played as a pawn by the big powers; and above all, there is the insatiable desire to be considered an equal to Western nations – as civilized, as advanced, and as ‘good’ as they are”69. In the relations between Bucharest and Moscow, one of major issues were the Soviet seizure of Bessarabia in 1940 and the dissapearance of Romanian gold that used to be transported to tzarist Russia before the first world war70. In other words, Romania’s “cross-roads actorship”, instead of becoming a resource, turned out to be a factor complicating its external policies.

Fifth and related, the whole set of border issues is at the top of the political agenda. There is still no full clarity with the perspectives of border regime between Ukraine and its neighbours - Romania, Belarus and Russia. The whole situation with borders looks rather ambiguous: on the one hand, countries like Romania and Bulgaria are very sensitive to any attempts to create new dividing lines in Europe; yet on the other hand, EU applicants seem to be interested in drawing a sort of discursive line between them and their “eastern neighbors” (including Moldova, Ukraine and Russia). The preparation to both EU and NATO membership involves the issue of fixing a country’s borders, which contributes to creating new cleavages71. As was aptly put by Merje Kuus, «each accession country can escape the East by framing itself as the eastern outpost of Europe… The East is never a fixed location but a characteristic attributed differently in different circumstances»72.

Sixth, many of regional issues are extremely securitized. In the Baltic Sea region, “the security argument has lost something of its constitutive value, and relationship between security and regional cooperation may soon drift apart”73. In the Black Sea, however, hard security arguments are still there. For example, Ukraine treats the Crimean problem as a security challenge with huge potential of destabilization.74 The same discoursive securitization is visible in the case of Russia in which many policy analysts ascribe to Turkey expansionist attitudes to the Crimean peninsula75. Due to securitization, small island of Tuzla near the Taman’ peninsula in 2003 has become a source of serious tensions between Russia and Ukraine76.

A particular expression of securitization is the issue of Baltic – Black Sea nexus which has more than one meaning. In terms of transportation infrastructure, there are good technical perspectives for laying the foundation of a trade route going from the North to the South of Europe. Yet the security dimension of Baltic – Black Sea idea is much more disputable. There are only two countries – Romania and Ukraine - that do believe that the alleged «Baltic – Black Sea arc» does exist in one way or another. It is Kyiv and Bucharest that make efforts to underpin the importance of forming “reliable anchors for stability linking the Northern and the Southern tiers” of Wider Europe77. Of particular interest is Romanian view of Bucharest – Warsaw relations as “strategic partnership”78. Yet most of other countries don't see this «arc» as something feasible. Most countries located in this area share a feeling that there is no need in “decoupling of Euro-Atlantic security and structures”79. Some countries assumed that this sort of “agenda of a fringe” would “reduce their chances for NATO membership and a good working relationship with Russia, and again relegate Central Europe to its gray zone position”80.
Is the Baltic Experience Transferable to the South?

( Concluding Comments)

In this paper I have tried to show that the question of how Europe has to be spatially and discursively shaped is of primordial importance for all key actors that have their vested interests in regional engagement. The United States have apparently invested more resources in and expressed more commitments to the Black Sea countries than the European Union, while the later sustains much higher profile in the Baltic region, especially taking into account the gradual decrease in the scale of U.S. Northern European Initiative. As for the BSR, the EU – in its search for global power status – seems to be prepared to counter-balance the U.S. presence in this region, while trying to play the role of a «civilian / soft power» and offer its expertise in conflict resolution and transformation. It remains to be seen whether the EU will be able to define its role in non-power-politics terms (what is sometimes called «the power of attraction», or involvement «without being perceived as seeking a zone of influence»81), or the tacit competition with the U.S. will eventually make Brussels to accept these terms as the rules of the game. Another interesting issue to observe in the nearest future might be the extent to which different «geometries of regionalism» would «de-center» Europe, i.e. turn it into an entity with no single center inside.

The U.S. and the EU might have different expectations, priorities and instruments for policy implementation, yet both are to be regarded without strong reservation as core powers, which is not the case of Russia that has a long way to go to prove its «centrality» for both regions. The general Black Sea situation - as understood by many Russian analysts – with Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to both EU and NATO mirrors Russia's Baltic impasse with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia having moved in the same direction. Yet, paradoxically, the EU to no lesser degree face the «mirror effect» trying to «prevent the emergence of the Russian military outposts on its future eastern borders»82. The EU gaces the perspective of eventually discovering the proliferation of different «Kaliningrads» as being reincarnated in Trans-dniestria, Abkhazia and other territories with the malign reputation of «black holes».

Yet in the mean time, the Baltic experience is instructive in a sense that the relatively new, much softer approaches to regionalism and security may proliferate in Europe’s other margins that are in contrast to strengthening of the Westphalian-like nation-state with sovereignty at its core. The recent years have witnessed a clear rise of interest to post-territorial, “dimensionalist” ways of conceptualizing the political space. Therefore, there is a conflation of two “security agendas”: one is still formulated in state-centric categories, with clear geopolitical and hard security bias; the second one is of post-modernist/post-sovereign background, leaning toward ND-like dimensionalism and trans-localization.

By the same token, it has to be acknowledged that there are important differences between the two discussed patters of regionalism as shown in the table below.

Nordic – Baltic region

Black Sea area

Integration reasons

The main motive is region-building based on specific identity

The main political rationale is integration into EU

Level of integration

Сulturally and politically integrated

Fragmented partners with conflicting interests

International challenges

“Complex interdependence” with certain post-Westphalian elements

“Anarchy” and geopolitical rivalries based on sovereign conceptualization of political space

Identity issues

Attempts to find its niche in what could be called “Nordic” and “Baltic” identity-building projects

“Layer cake” identity model

(Europe/Asia divide and multiculturalism)

Cooperation and conflict

Possesses a record of peaceful co-existence between opposing military blocks, basically due to Nordic peace tradition

Historically was the bone of contention between the great powers, especially during the Cold War


Soft security approaches make security agenda cooperative (even more radical version suggests that the Nordic countries have managed to form an «a-security community»)

Hard security concerns make security divisive

The Nordic/Baltic regionalism was a reaction to overcentralization within the EU, while the Black Sea represents much more complex phenomenon. By now it seems that for the EU applicants, the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation is a sort of preparatory stage for EU candidacy. Yet in the future the BSR may also become an alternative terrain for integration of its own.

As far as Russia is concerned, it cannot afford to ignore the proliferation of the “new geometries” of regionalism in Europe because what is at stake is Russia’s inclusion in or exclusion from a number of region building projects. Russia has to acknowledge the appearance of the networking regionalism, a type of regional governance that leads to construction of inclusive policy space with a variety of international and domestic actors84, based to a significant degree on trans-national diffusion of information, ideas, interpretations, social practices and norms, experiences and worldviews through a number of channels like travel, media, twinnning, people diplomacy, joint project collaboration, etc85. Russia still has a chance of organically participating in the region-building efforts which open up opportunities either skipping traditional “East-West” gaps or making them less stringently pre-determined.

Dr. Andrey Makarychev

The areas of the EU-Russia “direct touch” are frequently referred to as “juncture points” linking Russia to the EU and constituting one of the most important elements of Russia’s integration with Europe through trans-boundary cooperation. To the west of its borders, Russia indeed finds herself in proximity to a very innovative yet still uncertain cultural, intellectual and political environment. The very fact that Russia is situated at the crossroads of different regions (Nordic, Baltic, Central European) contains significant de-bordering potential because Russia appears to be able to accumulate and take advantage of different regional experiences and experimentations.

A number of most recent developments have sharpened the interest to this area in both political and academic circles, to include the simultaneous accession of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to NATO and EU, the EU’s adoption of the concepts of “Wider Europe” and “New Neighborhood” policy, the emergence of the Eastern Dimension blueprint sponsored by Poland, the scaling back of the U.S. involvement in the BSR (in particular, the de-facto termination of the Northern European Initiative), the appearance of “Old” vs. “New” Europe divide, discursively framed and politically accentuated, the more clear articulation of the importance of contacts with key CIS countries in foreign policies of the Baltic countries, and the “technical solution” of the Kaliningrad problem.

There are different interpretations of the nature of Europeanization which constitutes the heart of these events. In Europe itself, it is conceptualized as “the cultural, legal, institutional and economic impact of European integration on domestic structures” of the neighboring countries and their parts. Europeanization may be treated as an instrument of conflict resolution, and as a normative process, with the EU institutions working as actors to reorient the direction of local policies to the degree that Brussels-centered political and economic dynamics become part of the organizational logic of policy making in adjacent countries86.

In the meantime, in the European expert circles there is a widespread anticipation that the EU policy towards its neighbours is meant for “ordering” the EU relations with adjacent countries. In Pertti Joenniemi’s opinion, “the EU seems to be on its way of precluding outsiders from having an equal voice in policy formulation and agenda setting… It appears that the space available for heterogeneous approaches with a variety of voices impacting the outcome along the EU’s northern borders is on its way of closing down and, as to borders, the aim appears to be one of managing rather than overcoming them”87.

The “Europeanization approach” raises a number of substantial issues. First of all, the “Eastern policy” of the EU can be interpreted as stimulating the formation of a collective identity between the Baltic states and the Europe's core. The EU in fact breaks up and diversifies what could have been called “the East” into a more developed Central / Baltic Europe and less developed Eastern periphery, the latter to be treated as a subject only to the extent to which it conforms to the so called 'western values'.

In doing so, the EU seems to have a number of reasons to recourse to a verbal “othering” of Russia, to include alleged bad governance, ineffectiveness of the local industries and widespread corruption. In result, however, the EU faces some difficulties in the extension of its peace policies to its nearby areas and has instead opted for fencing and measures of exclusion88.

These points lead to the second major challenge, namely finding a balance between stressing Russia’s specificity/exceptionality, on the one hand, and accentuating Russia’s “normality”/typicality. The question could be also reversed: how specific the EU policies towards Russia are to be, and to what extent Russia may be put on the same ground as her neighbors. A number of recent initiatives (including the Four Common Spaces idea) seem to sharpen this debate.

The conditions predetermining the EU impact upon Russia in the whole spectrum of trans-border issues might be elucidated through the scheme elaborated within the framework of the Euborderconf89 project. Conceptually, the scheme is based upon two lines of distinction: the first one separates the actor-driven and the structural type of influence (which corresponds to the horizontal axis in the matrix offered by Dietz, Stetter and Albert), while the second one differentiates between political leadership and society (the vertical one).

This scheme invites for two types of interrogations that constitute the core of this paper.

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International relations -> Материалы для чтения the four freedoms as part of europeanization process: conditions and effectiveness of the eu impact
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