Since the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU on 1 January 2007, the European Union has itself directly bordered the Black Sea. The significance of the region for the EU is thus increasing, in both economic and security-policy terms. Germany therefore focused greater attention on the region during its EU Presidency in the first half of 2007, and called for enhanced cross-border cooperation.
The Black Sea region is not only a strategically important transit corridor for economic goods and energy, but is also a passage used by organized crime and illegal migrants. Moreover, a number of regional conflicts are smouldering around the Black Sea, as are a number of disputes of strategic consequence. The challenges this presents will be the focus of a conference hosted by the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the George C. Marshall Center from 3 to 5 June, to be held in the Foreign Office's Europasaal.
The conference will examine the current situation in the Black Sea region with regard to security and stability and will discuss instruments for multilateral and regional security cooperation.
The conference will be opened on Tuesday (3 June) with a speech by Gernot Erler, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office. Some 60 government representatives and members of parliament from the countries bordering the Black Sea and other Black Sea Economic Cooperation member states are expected to attend.
The opening session from 9.00 to 10.00 a.m. on 3 June and the final session from 3.30 to 4.30 p.m. on 5 June will be open to the press.