New regionalism in Europe's Black Sea Region: The EU BSEC and changing practices of regionalism
What kind of region is the wider Black Sea area (WBSA)? Is it constructed by practices of regionalism framed by the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) or does it follow a more inclusive scheme of integration propelled by European Union (EU) policy instruments such as the Black Sea Synergy? This paper investigates the very nature of regionalism in the Black Sea region by focusing on trade integration. It measures and compares how patterns of intra-regional and cross-regional trade have been diverted in the WBSA by the BSEC and the EU between 1993 and 2008. The paper argues that the WBSA overall has inherited strong intra-regional trade preferences but it questions the actual capacity of the BSEC to act as an effective promoter of regionalisation. It shows in particular that the EU has been reshaping the patterns of trade in the WBSA in a more significant manner than the BSEC. This indicates a shift from regionalism à la BSEC (nesting the WBSA within Europe) to EU-driven regionalism (interweaving differentially the WBSA states within a larger continental-scale scheme regionalism). © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
SourceEast European Politics
KeywordsBlack Sea Synergy
Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation