Jean Monnet Centre of ExcellenceCENTER FOR EUROPEAN STUDIES


The EU and subregional multilateralism in Europe's sea basins: Neighbourhood, Enlargement and Multilateral Cooperation

An FP7 SSH collaborative research project (2009-2011)


EU4SEAS is a research project which aims to analyze the effects of EU policies and strategies on sub-regional multilateralism in four areas: the Baltic, Black Sea, Caspian and Mediterranean basins with a view to formulate some policy recommendations in order to improve the synergies between the EU and sub-regional multilateralism in achieving their shared goals.

The project is an interdisciplinary effort bringing together theoretical, empirical, comparative and prescriptive methodological aspects.

Research questions include:

  1. What have been the main achievements and failures of sub regional multilateralism in each basin and which practices can be transferred from one to other sea basin?
  2. How do EU membership and EU policies impact on multilateral cooperation around the sea basins?
  3. Does the EU reinforce or hamper the multilateral framework?
  4. How can the EU and other multilateral organizations and initiatives cooperate in achieving their shared objectives?
  5. What would be the benefits of a specific approach of the EU for each of the four basins?

There are six Work Packages in this project:

 WP 1 is analyzing the subregional dimension and the interaction with the EU (theoretical framework)

WPs 2, 3, 4, and 5 are focusing on the empirical research on Politics and Security (WP 2), Environmental and maritime issues (WP 3), Energy and transport issues (WP 4) and the four freedoms (WP 5).

WP 6 is based on findings, drafting policy papers and the detection of best practices.

This project is bringing seven research centers working in the four sea basins; Fundació Centre Internacional de Documentació de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (CIDOB), Center for European Studies at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey (CES-METU), International Centre for Defence Studies, Tallinn, Estonia (ICDS), International Centre for Policy Studies, Kyiv, Ukraine (ICPS), Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, Italy (IAI), Institute of International Affairs and Centre for Small State Studies at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland (IIA-CSSS), Centre for National and International Studies, Baku, Azerbaijan (CNIS) and Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions, Rennes, France (CPMR).

CES will be responsible for WP 4 on Energy and transport issues as a partner institution of this research project and CES' WP will be focusing on:

  1. Studying the role of energy supply routes and energy production on sub-regional co-operation in the sea basins
  2. Analysing the impact of the EU's energy policy on sub-regional co-operation in the basin, in particular in relation to energy supply routes
  3. Analysing the interaction between EU foreign policy, EU energy policy, other actor's energy strategies and multilateral co-operation in the four sea basins
  4. Evaluating the role of sub-regional multilateralism in transport and infrastructure issues in the four basins
  5. Studying better practices in some of the basins and explore their applicability/ transferability to other basins


The first meeting of the project was held in Barcelona at CIDOB premises between 27th and 30th January, 2009. From CES, Prof. Dr. Atila Eralp, Prof. Dr. Meliha Altunisik and Dr. Cigdem Ustun attended this meeting. While the project team, both scientific committee and the steering committee came together to discuss project related issues, the seminar on the 28th and 29th January focussed on subregional multilateralism from a theoretical perspective, EU's approach and subregional efforts in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Caspian regions.


Further information on the project can be found at   or you can email Dr. Cigdem Ustun.