Atlantic – Black Sea Security Forum 2022 Conference Report
What New European Security Architecture after Russia’s war on Ukraine? The Black Sea Vortex
31 August 2022•Written by Aspen Institute
The fourth edition of the Atlantic-Black Sea Security Forum took place on the 8th of July 2022 and offered a platform for various actors to discuss the implications of the crisis in Ukraine and the results of a dynamic international context, presenting different approaches and goals. A select group of national and international leaders, policy experts, government officials, business executives and research organizations gathered in Bucharest for an open discussion regarding highly actual issues in security, geopolitics, and economics.
The 4th edition of the Forum gathered over 40 speakers and moderators, across six panel sessions and various high-level discussions, and featured a cocktail reception to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States of America. The reception benefitted from the presence of high-level officials and representatives of the private sector, who shared their thoughts and experiences, as well as outlooks for the future of the partnership, during the seven opening speeches.
- Russia’s unprovoked war shattered 75 years of peace and prosperity in Europe and threatened both Europe’s security and the security arrangements signed to preserve peace.
- Russia expected to find a weak Ukraine and a divided NATO, but Russia’s actions have had the opposite effect as Ukraine fought with courage and NATO has strengthened its unity and resilience. Russia cannot keep up the intensity of its aggressive actions, however a prolonged war is most likely a reality.
- The war in Ukraine has brought the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since WW2 which threatens famine, destabilization, and mass migration.
- The international community needs to find a solution to open the port of Odessa to food exports and increase funding for humanitarian organizations operating in Ukraine.
- NATO’s latest Summit in Madrid will significantly to contribute to the Allies’ collective security, with the inclusion of 2 new members, Sweden and Finland, as well as increased cyber-security protections, greater funding, and the rewriting of the NATO Strategic Concept which names Russia as a key threat.
- The Black Sea Region will be key in establishing whether peace and democracy will prevail, or repression and tyranny become the norm in the trans-Atlantic space. The role of the Black Sea Region is acknowledged in NATO’s new Strategic Concept.
- Romania’s strategic position should contribute to the security of the Black Sea and to deterring Russian aggression.
- A closer relationship and increased support for like-minded, pro-Western states in Eastern Europe, such as Moldova and Ukraine, is key to deterring Russia and to capitalize on the strategic importance of the Black Sea.
- Russia has instrumentalized energy as a foreign policy weapon and is profiting off the oil and gas crisis to fund the war in Ukraine.
- The EU must invest in renewable and decentralized energy that is integrated in a digital network, not just to get rid of its dependence on Russian gas but also to reach the ambitious climate targets it had agreed in the Green Deal before the war in Ukraine. By 2030, 45% of the energy mix in the EU will be renewable.
- The Green Deal is a threat to Russia as gas is a geopolitical arm for them and reducing sales will lead them into irrelevance. The REPowerEU initiative is particularly important as it removes Russia as the sole gas and oil supplier whilst sticking to the climate neutral objective by 2050.
- To restore trust in democratic political systems, a new social-economic contract must be forged building resilience to foreign-led influence, misinformation and disinformation and reinforcing democracy through shared values and dialogue.
- As technology dominates the geopolitical agenda, whoever writes the rules for digital transformation will have the upper hand in geopolitical terms, so investments in innovation are a must. Cooperation between the public and the private sector is key to the success of Western democracies in this competition.
- Democratic states must build resilience towards future threats such as digital or security threats. The development of technology can be described as a double-edged sword as it can both provide solutions that empower but be used for malicious campaigns.
- To build resilience against malicious internet use, the practice of pre-bunking must be used to stem false information before it is able to be spread.
- The EU must make radical and significant cybersecurity improvements to its critical infrastructure, help partners recover from significant cyber incidents, reinforce international norms to stop attacks on critical infrastructure (such as hospitals) and hold state and non-state actors responsible for disruptive or destructive cyber-security.
- Blockchain is an indispensable technology to enterprises who want quantifiable trust in their data sets, providing a key contribution to the security of data.