The region between the Baltic and the Black Sea has throughout history played the role of frontier or margin. Its identity has never been precisely defined. Today, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, products of a disintegrated Soviet empire, have acquired independence but seek security guarantees. Notwithstanding the recent accessions to NATO, such guarantees are not only or even principally military in nature. Threats to national and regional stability have become more insidious, embracing cultural, social and economic dimensions of concern to all of Europe. Changes in the European security environment and impending enlargement of the European Union continue to create new challenges.
NATO, the European Union, the Council of Europe, OSCE and regional bodies such as the Council of Baltic Sea States are all striving to meet the challenges of the new political configuration. Conflict in the Balkans adds to the urgency of this endeavor. This book addresses such issues as immigration, infiltration of organized crime and maintenance under EU rules of border exchanges at least as free as those that already exist in the region. Governments and international organizations should not regard institutional expansion and geopolitical restructuring merely as «western plus». From the other end of the telescope the view is very different.
The College of Europe is an innovative post-graduate institute of European studies, established in Bruges in 1949. It draws graduates from a wide range of countries to study and live together. The College has always offered courses closely following European integration, continuously adapting to its programs while maintaining high standards. The College is characterized by its independence, its bilingualism (English and French), the diversity of its distinguished faculty and the multicultural environment of student life. Following the breakdown of the Berlin wall and the emergence of new democracies in Central Europe, it was normal that Bruges be complemented by a campus in Natolin, Warsaw. Natolin specializes in issues of Central and Eastern Europe and draws students from more than thirty countries. In addition to teaching, it serves as a center of ideas, organizing conferences on the objectives, processes, and institutions of European integration. Several of these served as a basis for this publication.