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February 9, 2023

“Emerging Importance o Wider Black Sea Area Security” conference organised by the Lucian Blaga University

Iohannis: Black Sea region, special significance for European, Euroatlantic security’s building


The Black Sea region has a special significance for the building of the European and Euroatlantic security, said President Klaus Iohannis in a message sent on Friday to a specialised conference on security, organised by the Lucian Blaga University (ULB) in central Sibiu.

“I hail the initiative of the ULB to stage with the involvement of the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, a conference on a currently important geopolitically and geostrategically topic.The Black Sea region has a special significance for the building of the European and Euroatlantic security. It is commendable the increasing attention given lately by the academic and scientific research community, by the NGOs, the civil society, the media and the public opinion to the global, European and national security problematic. In the current context, the security concept has developed new features, such as complexity and interdependence. At the same time, the threats’ cross-border character claims an approach based on cooperation among the states, based on the international law norms,” the president says in his message to the conference.

President Iohannis reminded that assuming an active and constructive role in the Black Sea region’s problems is one of the fundamental pillars of Romania’s foreign and security policy.

“The enhancement of the Strategic Partnership with the USA, of our country’s profile in the NATO and the European Union, as well as the assuming of an active and constructive role in the Black Sea region’s problems are some of the fundamental pillars of Romania’s foreign and security policy. Transparency, predictability, tolerance and co-operation must become not only values of the participative democracies, such as our country, but also imperatives of the current international policy,” president Iohannis said in his message.

The “Emerging Importance of Wider Black Sea Area Security” conference, attended June 1-2, by security, defence and diplomacy experts, alongside professors specialised in strategies from six countries, is addressing a possible security strategy at the Black Sea, in the perspective of the NATO Summit due this July in Brussels. It is unfolding under the Aegis of the President of Romania, through the Foreign Policy Department, with support from the Embassy of Romania in the USA, based on the academic partnership with the “Nicolae Balcescu” Land Forces Academy of Sibiu.

George Friedman, president of Geopolitical Futures and James Carafano, Vice President of Heritage Foundation, are the conference’s guests of honour.

Organizer of the conference is the Global Studies Centre with the ULB of Sibiu, which is determined to draft a Policy Paper, namely a strategic document, for the Foreign Policy Department of the Romanian Presidency, after the conference.



George Friedman: Romania in situation in which it should enhance own military capacities at the Black Sea


“Currently, the United States of America is not in the situation to deploy a significant fleet to the Black Sea, and Romania should firstly enhance its own military response capacities in this area, on Friday said the US analyst George Friedman, president of the Geopolitical Futures”, at conference  held in Sibiu.

The security situation at the Black Sea has not climbed at a very high level on the US’s interest scale so to deploy here significant forces, and then the Americans will not challenge the Russians, said Friedman. We are now in a situation in which all kinds of policies could be talked for the Black Sea, but for the Americans this topic is not ranked as major and they do not wish this, because they don’t want to engage against the Russians. The Russians are not ready to engage in a Black Sea naval operation that would crowd the Americans in the area, they will do whatever they could to not challenge the Americans. The Russians don’t want to open a conflict with Turkey for the Black Sea area, because they hope for a miracle, a Russian-Turkish agreement to happen. And the Turks understand very well one thing in this area: if the Russians are at home, the Americans are at home, too, said George Friedman in the “US perspective upon NATO and the Black Sea” lecture he delivered at the “Emerging Importance o Wider Black Sea Area Security” conference organised by the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu.

The American analyst stressed that Russia, Turkey and the United States of America are the main security actors in the Black Sea region.

From Romania’s viewpoint, said Friedman, the situation is pretty uncomfortable. Romania wishes that the US has a very solid policy for the Black Sea. It won’t be. Or perhaps we shall have something on paper, but we are not in the position to deploy a large fleet to the Black Sea, considering the Montreux Convention and because we don’t want to alienate the Turks. And under no circumstances we could concentrate in the Black Sea area naval forces or naval-air combined forces of a high level, this is out of the question. The Russians look very offensive, and yet they’ll do nothing to kick off a response of a high level on behalf of the Americans, they still regret that additional forces have been deployed in Romania and Poland following their behaviour. So, they’ll be very careful. This is the time Romania has a maneuver space, said George Friedman.

He emphasised that Romania has the occasion to develop their own fleet and naval and air response capacities in the Black Sea region, an effort in which it could be helped, financially included, by the USA.

At the same time, he added that none of the three significant forces in the Black Sea wants a conflict in the region, being more preoccupied with other areas of interest. In this context, he stressed that the US did not react in what regarded Ukraine in 2014 the way some Ukrainian leaders would have wished for.

He went on, saying that the Turks are way too preoccupied with the Iranians, the Russian are paying attention to Belarus, so that nothing unpleasant for them happens there, and the Americans are more focused on their economic relation with China, on the Korean Peninsula and many other priority things. So, to understand the Black Sea area, said Friedman, one must understand there is no final solution, because we don’t have a very clear problem. Romania benefits from all the friendship on behalf of the US, added the analyst, as a strong nation placed in a very strategic region, but if the Romanians are expecting for the others to make the move, well, the Romanians should remember that in August 2008 (as regards the war in Georgia, ed. n.) nobody reacted. And then do not forget how the crisis in Ukraine ended, Friedman argued.

He pointed out that given these elements, Romania must have in mind to have an independent policy, too, a policy in which it would not count that much on the others to intervene, to come help in case of a conflict. There will be more summits in Brussels, but in order to be part of a military alliance and count on it, firstly you must have a proper army. If you want to count on political alliances, then you could send your politicians fight on the battle field, said George Friedman.

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