CHISINAU, Republic of Moldova (Feb. 21, 2017) - A new way of looking at security was shared by representatives working in various government ministries from the Black Sea and Eurasia region at the Economic Security Seminar held Feb. 15 and 16 in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.
"In the last 20 years, the concept of related security has changed to a more human type of security," said Dr. Valbona Zeneli, director of the Black Sea and Eurasia non-resident program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. "We live in a globalized world, and we (Marshall Center) are aware that economic security and national security are mutually independent."
That's why, Zeneli said, the Marshall Center organized this Economic Security Seminar, which was the first of its kind in the Black Sea and Eurasia Region. She added that the Marshall Center would like to continue to have this type of seminars in the next couple of years.
This seminar was co-hosted by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Moldova. More than 50 people from seven countries in the region attended the seminar.
"Economic security is a complex notion," said U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova James Pettit, during opening remarks. "In today's world, the expansive nature of world finance and globalized economics suggest that each country's economic security is interdependent."
A variety of topics were discussed during panel sessions at the two-day seminar from the highly technical such as the gas pipelines' stream to the more future-oriented issues like how to balance gender equality to improve economic development.
Dr. Michael Miklaucic, director of research at National Defense University, presented global economic development and its impact on the Black Sea and Eurasia Region on the first day of the seminar.
"Economic security is the new face of security - a new way of looking at security, and I think it's an informed and educated way - a more modern way of looking at security," he said. "It's cutting edge, particularly, in this part of the world. The choices these countries make will have a profound difference in future economic successes and prosperity."
Specifically, topics explored were: security challenges; global economic development and its impact; energy security; integration dilemma and the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union; good governance and inclusiveness for economic development; and, China's role in the Black Sea and Eurasia Region.
"These topics presented here are our top questions for my country, Ukraine, and only together, we will find answers," said Nataliia Haluhan, chief specialist for the Foreign Economic Security Department with the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Ukraine, who was a seminar participant. "The main idea of this conference is to help us to confront all these issues that we currently have in the region like the integration dilemma in terms of the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union."
There was also a participant panel discussing regional cooperation. One of the panel members, Nikoloz Khatiashvili, a counselor with the Political Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Georgia, presented current reforms being implemented in his country.
"For this moment it's very important for countries in the Black Sea and Eurasia to work together because there are many challenges in the region," said Khatiashvili. "I think this kind of seminar helps to connect more people so they can find new solutions and ideas to solve these challenges and to cooperate with each other."
Miklaucic agreed. "I think this seminar is incredibly important because this is where we talk about every global problem hitting the region. Global cooperation starts with meeting people and understanding their different perspectives.
"To me, what the Marshall Center does is critical because it helps people from these different countries have eye-to-eye, face-to-face contact to develop relationships so they can cooperate with each other," he said.
Also, in agreement was James Stewart, from the Political/Economics Section of the Embassy of the United States - Chisinau, who attended both days of the seminar.
"The Marshall Center is respected in the region and is known by all levels of government by officials across Eastern Europe," he said. "Everyone understands the value of being able to engage with counterparts from surrounding countries.
"This was an opportunity for multiple countries within the Black Sea region to discuss economic security," he said, "which due to their size and position in the world, and their regional neighbors - is a top priority for all of these countries."