The Black Sea region stands out among the numerous regional and sub-regional structures that exist today. It includes Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine; not all these states border the Black Sea but all take an active part in the cooperative processes in the region, including the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The region also possesses the several distinguishing features, some of which are longstanding and others that reflect current trends and global and regional changes:
· It is situated in an area of the world that divides or, depending on one’s outlook, connects different cultures, civilizations, continents, and geopolitical regions.
· It is characterized by a great degree of openness to several neighboring areas, namely the Mediterranean, Balkan, and Caspian regions. This openness creates problems in defining the nature of the region, as well as its borders, as is already shown by the development of the terms “Black-Caspian Seas region” and the “Black-Mediterranean Seas region.” The whole idea of a cross-continental Baltic–Black Sea zone of security still exists, even with the second wave of NATO expansion under way. [...]