Regional cooperation organizations in a multipolar world. Comparing the Baltic and the Black Sea regions

University dissertation from Stockholm : Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis

Abstract: This dissertation analyses the phenomenon of regionalism around the Baltic and the Black Sea since the end of the Cold War with a comparative approach and by applying an extended neorealist theory that includes geopolitics and historical legacy. The main focus is regional organizations, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which defines the geographical and political borders of the Baltic and the Black Sea region. These regional organizations are treated as international regimes. The three main varibales taken into consideration in this study are the distribution of power among the big states, the geographical location and the historical legacy that directly and indirectly affect the relations among the states in each region. These variables are consistently applied to the following  four sector analysed in this study: hard security, energy, economic development, and environment. While the last three sectors are areas of cooperation within the CBSS and the BSEC, hard security is not. Its inclusion in this study is because of the fact that it strongly affects the power relations among the states in the two regions and that it is strictly linked to the other three sectors. Although the CBSS and the BSEC have established ad hoc Working Groups with the aim to make cooperation working effectively, regional states cooperate to the extent that it brings relative gains according to the neorealist theory. The analysis shows that the two regimes created around the Balti and the Black Sea are ineffective despite the fact that the CBSS has managed to create stronger cooperative links among its members compared to the BSEC.

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