Ulla SCHMIDT (Germany)
Human rights watchdogs indicate that democracy around the world deteriorated to the lowest point in more than a decade. For the Alliance, an organisation underpinned by liberal democratic values, this erosion has severe consequences. The report focuses on the Black Sea area due to the region’s increased strategic importance for NATO. Furthermore, the area represents a diverse microcosm of actors important to NATO, including three NATO Allies, two NATO aspirants, one NATO partner, and one country that considers NATO its adversary. Adherence to democratic values and the rule of law varies greatly across these states.
This report provides an overview of political developments in the Black Sea states, including the efforts (where appropriate) to consolidate democratic institutions, challenges in protecting human rights and civil liberties, and fighting corruption as well as implementing reform agendas. The General Rapporteur argues that the Euro-Atlantic community needs to strengthen its focus on democracy, rule of law and human rights indicators in its approaches to the Black Sea region. These improvements are vital for the cohesion of the Alliance; the Euro-Atlantic prospects of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine; normalisation of relations with Russia; and, more generally, the de-escalation of tensions and prevention of conflicts in the Black Sea area.