Danube Europe Ukraine Ex-USSR Moldova Polska Turkey
*Poland-Romania-Turkey and Georgia-Moldova-Ukraine, respectively.
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.
- In 2014, the Black Sea region became an arena of unprecedented Russian aggressive policy against Georgia, Moldova and, above all, Ukraine. Paradoxically, Russian policy strengthened the European vocation of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. As a result, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries split finally into two groups: the states interested in EU integration (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) and the states not interested in that process due to a variety of factors (Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan). In response to these trends, an increase of Russian pressure on Chisinau, Kiev, and Tbilisi, particularly in the economic and social fields can be expected in the coming years. Therefore, the process of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine’s integration with the EU will soon face its moment of truth.
- In recent years, bilateral cooperation between Poland, Romania, and Turkey increased significantly. Moreover, a cooperation process between these three countries in a trilateral format was launched, though it remains still in the early stages. It should be enhanced particularly in the economic and social fields. 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.
- Taking into consideration Russia’s aggressive policies, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine need more than ever the support of their main partners. Meanwhile, Poland, Romania, and Turkey are key stakeholders in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, with each of the latter countries having its own priority partner from the former group of countries (Turkey-Georgia, Moldova-Romania, Poland- Ukraine).
- The deepening of the Polish-Romanian-Turkish triangle and its successful engagement in the Black Sea region depends, in particular, on Turkey’s approach to this initiative because of its strong ties with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine and due to its huge potential. Meanwhile, the potential of Ukraine and its close economic and social ties with Poland, Turkey, Georgia, and Moldova make Kiev the key partner for the Polish-Romanian-Turkish triangle among the Eastern Partnership countries.
The Black Sea region due to the Euromaidan revolution in Kiev and Russian aggression against Ukraine brought about in 2014 tremendous tectonic shifts. Last year Moscow also exerted enormous pressure on Moldova and Georgia.1 As a result, the Black Sea region will never be the same. These negative developments should not eclipse the positive trends. Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU.
This in itself must be perceived as the crossing of the Rubicon by these countries while Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus were left on the other bank. Ukraine confirmed its European vocation by electing the most pro-European parliament in its history. Moreover, the societal support for the accession of Ukraine to the EU and NATO increased considerably. In Moldova, the pro-European coalition was reelected, though in another configuration, less committed to the reforms.
The EU abolished its visa regime for citizens of Moldova. While Georgia experienced a serious internal political crisis in 2014, it remains an EaP country with an impressively high, in fact the highest ever, support for EU membership.
Russia, through its bullying and aggression undermined the possibility of the further development of multilateral regional cooperation in the hitherto existing formats (for instance, the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation). In the radically new geopolitical context, the Black Sea region needs new, innovative and unconventional formats of cooperation.
The article proposes as a new initiative an enhancement of the Poland-Romania-Turkey triangle in what can become a game changer in the region. These three countries are significant stakeholders in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine while, simultaneously, they regard the Black Sea region as a strategic area in their foreign policies.
They are the largest EU or associated to the EU economies bordering the Eastern Partnership countries. Despite a slowdown in comparison to the pre-crisis period, they have solid projections for growth (3-3.5% on average) for the coming years.3 The triangle could conceivably evolve into a more robust multilateral regional entente which will be based on cooperation between two triangles: Poland-Romania-Turkey and Georgia-Moldova-Ukraine, respectively.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: edu.tr