Yannis Tsantoulis

Yannis Tsantoulis

Research Fellow, International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), Athens

Yannis Tsantoulis, born in Athens 1980, obtained a BA in ‘Political Science and Public Administration’ from the University of Athens in 2003, an a MA in ‘European and International Studies’ from the University of Athens in 2005 and a Master of European Studies from the Center for European Integration Studies of the University of Bonn in 2007. Yannis has worked for the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) in Bonn. Currently, he is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) in Athens. His main research interests include the theoretical debate on regional integration, the external relations of the European Union (ENP, CFSP) and security issues around the Black Sea region.

PhD Proposal

Conflict and Cooperation in the Black Sea:
The Role of the Extra-Regional Actors (EU, US)

Following the end of the Cold War, the Black Sea region entered a new era characterised by the interplay of Conflict and Cooperation. On the one hand, it gradually started undergoing a process of being built into a ‘region’ –or at least being labelled as a ‘region’– and, on the other hand, it emerged as a key area in a new spiral of geopolitical competition among regional and extra-regional actors. In this regard, the Black Sea in the post-Cold War has been profoundly marked by the fundamental coexistence of the opposing logics of Conflict and Cooperation and has been regarded since then as a place hiding/hosting nuisances and opportunities. The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the interrelated terms of power politics and subregionalism, investigating key parameters such as the significance of the geography of the region, the ambiguous role of the hegemon(s), the performance of the various regional organisations, the value of history and ‘identity making’, and above all the policies/strategies of extra-regional actors (US, EU) towards the region from 2001 until 2007. In this regard, the primary objective is twofold and is thus divided into two levels of analysis. The first level explores the (regional) interplay between subregionalism vs. power politics while the second level, which constitutes the core part of the Thesis, assesses the impact of the policies/strategies of the extra-regional actors on that interplay. In a few words, how did the various policies –from the launching of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the enlargement strategy and the ‘diffusion of ideas’ by the EU to the construction of pipelines and the deployment of a strategy in combating international terrorism led by US– had an impact on the interplay ‘Cooperation vs. Conflict’. To this end, this thesis makes use of various tools and analytical criteria from different strands of liberal, constructivist and realist thought in international relations, trying thus to achieve a ‘Progressive Synthesis’ of key theoretical models.

Black Sea Region; European Union (EU), United States (US), power politics, subregionalism, ‘diffusion of ideas’, hegemons, regional organisations, Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), ‘Progressive synthesis’, ‘Moderate Social Constructivism’, Realist Constructivism/Constructivist Realism


Triantaphyllou, Dimitris and Yannis Tsantoulis. “The Phenomenon of Regional Integration in the Post-Cold War IR Debate: A Case of Theory Synthesis or Another Battlefield Among Theorists?”. In Theories of International Relations: New Perspectives (in Greek), edited by K. Lavdas, D. Chryssochoou and D. Xenakis. Athens: Sideris Publications, (to be published in Winter of 2010).

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “The Black Sea Region: The State of Play and the Way Forward,” The Bridge 14; Quarterly Review on S.E. Europe & the S.E. Mediterranean Europe (2009): 32-35.

Triantaphyllou Dimitrios and Yannis Tsantoulis. “EU’s Policy towards it new eastern neighbours: A new Ostpolitik in the making or a mélange of different concepts and priorities?” Südosteuropa Mitteilungen, no.5 (2009): 6-18.

Schmidt, Armando Garcia and Yannis Tsantoulis. “Konzeptkünstler: Viel Papier, wenig Plan – Europa braucht eine Ostpolitik aus einem Guss“ (in German). [Conceptual Art: Plenty of paper, not enough planning – Europe needs a single Ostpolitik]. Internationale Politik 6, Issue 64 (June 2009): 79-83.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “Geopolitics, (sub)regionalism, discourse and a troubled ‘power triangle’ in the Black Sea”. Journal on Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 9, No. 3 (2009): 243-258.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “Black Sea Synergy and Eastern Partnership: Different Centres of Gravity, Complementarity or Confusing Signals?” ICBSS Policy Brief, no. 12. Athens: ICBSS, February 2009.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “The EU’s Slow Awakening after the Georgian Crisis: Discovering Its Eastern Neighbourhood,” The Bridge 10; Quarterly Review on S.E. Europe & the S.E. Mediterranean Europe (2009): 8-10.

Triantaphyllou, Dimitrios and Yannis Tsantoulis. “Looking Beyond the Georgian Crisis: the EU in Search of an Enhanced Role in the Black Sea Region”. ICBSS Policy Brief, no. 8. Athens: ICBSS, October 2008.

Triantaphyllou, Dimitris and Yannis Tsantoulis. “International Security in the Post-Cold War Period: Regionalism, Globalism and the Ambivalent Predominance of the Post-Modern World”. International Relations: The New Agenda and Contemporary Approaches (in Greek) edited by E. Chatzivasileiou, K. Ifantis, D. Triantaphyllou. Athens: Papazissis Publications, 2008, 153-192.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “The Wider Black Sea Region in the Post-Cold War Period: Searching for a Strategic bi-Regional Partnership with the EU”. Review of International and European Politics (in Greek). (April – June 2008):171-181.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “Subregionalism in the Black Sea and the EU’s Role – Incentives, Obstacles and a New Synergy”. Discussion Paper. Bonn: Center for European Integration Studies, May 2008.

Tsantoulis, Yannis. “EU-Turkey Relations and the Greek Factor: Present Situation and Future Prospects,” EU-Turkey Monitor 4, no. 1 (April 2008).

Stamatis, Michalis and Yannis Tsantoulis. “The New Method of ‘Open Coordination’: A Useful Innovation for EU Governance?”. Analysis Paper, Athens: Hellenic Centre for European Studies, May 2007. Available for download at: www.ekem.gr

Book Reviews:

Brad Blitz (eds.), War and Change in the Balkans: Nationalism, Conflict and Cooperation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Review by Yannis Tsantoulis, Journal on Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 8, no. 3 (2008): 307-310.

Elkhan Nuriyev, The South Caucasus at the Crossroads: Conflicts, Caspian Oil and Great Power Politics, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007. Review by Yannis Tsantoulis, Journal on Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 9, no. 1 (2009):220-221.


Yannis Tsantoulis