How Romania and Poland Can Strengthen NATO and the EU

Two New Cooperation Initiatives Could Improve Regional Security

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis arrive for the 63rd NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest, Romania, October 2017. George Calin / REUTERS

Russia’s recent actions in Crimea and southeastern Ukraine have motivated NATO to reinforce solidarity within the alliance and strengthen its overall capabilities. They have also, more specifically, prompted Romania and Poland, NATO’s two largest new member countries that joined the alliance after 1999, to try to redefine their positions inside both NATO and the European Union.

Until recently, Bucharest and Warsaw had not had much of an opportunity to distinguish themselves within NATO. But with Romania sharing a border with Ukraine, and Poland sharing one with Ukraine as well as Russia (that is, with the exclave Kaliningrad), the two countries have devised two novel regional collaboration schemes aimed at enhancing their positions within both NATO and EU: the Bucharest Nine (B9) and the Three Seas Initiative (3SI).

The B9 is a little-known cooperation initiative among most of NATO’s new members. It was proposed by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis

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