Research project

Flanks: Security Challenges in Northern and Southern Europe (FLANKS)

2020 - 2021 (Ongoing)

The aim of this project is to develop enhanced knowledge of Russia's behaviour in the Kola Peninsula and the Arctic region, as well as in the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea region – and to compare in terms of similarities and differences.

This will provide support for the institutions with responsibilities in the security and foreign affairs field, which can use this resource to better understand how Moscow plans its activities and can also contribute to the reinforcement of the means to counteract them. Both Norway and Romania have been facing a rapidly changing and deteriorating security situation since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing incursion into Eastern Ukraine. The Western response and Russian counter-measures have led to a difficult international political climate, with high tensions and deep distrust.

The Black Sea and the Nordic-Arctic regions do share several features, such as the presence of major Russian military naval bases and increased regional geopolitical tensions. Also more specific issues, such as struggles over energy supply and security, and new threats, such as cyber-weapons and targeted influence campaigns, represents challenges both for Norway and Romania and their respective neighbouring regions. Unfortunately, however, today the respective knowledge and awareness in each country of these issues in the other country, is limited. The available information is often scarce and the perception of the community of danger is not conscious enough. There are likely important lessons to be learned from each country’s response to these overlapping challenges.

This project aims at filling this knowledge and awareness gap and to strengthen the bilateral relations between Romania and Norway. Responding to an observed need for increased knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices and collective capacity building, the project will create a bilateral policy-relevant knowledge hub. The project will bring together leading national researchers and analysts to conduct research and provide policy recommendations on security challenges both countries are facing. The aim is to build and enduring partnership and a platform that other kinds of cooperation can build upon. The realization of this project will thus contribute to strengthened research and analysis capacity and improved policy cooperation on security policy between Norway and Romania, and hence also contribute to a higher level of security and resilience in both societies. By building enhanced mutual awareness of the security challenges in the two regions of strategic importance to NATO, the High North and the Black Sea Region, the project will also contribute to strengthen the solidarity dimension in the two NATO states.

  • The aim of the initiative is to develop enhanced knowledge of Russia's behaviour in the Kola Peninsula and the Arctic region, as well as in the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea region – and to compare in terms of similarities and differences. This will provide support for the institutions with responsibilities in the security and foreign affairs field, which can use this resource to better understand how Moscow plans its activities and can also contribute to the reinforcement of the means to counteract them. Both Norway and Romania have been facing a rapidly changing and deteriorating security situation since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing incursion into Eastern Ukraine. The Western response and Russian counter-measures have led to a difficult international political climate, with high tensions and deep distrust. The Black Sea and the Nordic-Arctic regions do share several features, such as the presence of major Russian military naval bases and increased regional geopolitical tensions. Also more specific issues, such as struggles over energy supply and security, and new threats, such as cyber-weapons and targeted influence campaigns, represents challenges both for Norway and Romania and their respective neighbouring regions. Unfortunately, however, today the respective knowledge and awareness in each country of these issues in the other country, is limited. The available information is often scarce and the perception of the community of danger is not conscious enough. There are likely important lessons to be learned from each country’s response to these overlapping challenges. This project aims at filling this knowledge and awareness gap and to strengthen the bilateral relations between Romania and Norway. Responding to an observed need for increased knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices and collective capacity building, the project will create a bilateral policy-relevant knowledge hub. The project will bring together leading national researchers and analysts to conduct research and provide policy recommendations on security challenges both countries are facing. The aim is to build and enduring partnership and a platform that other kinds of cooperation can build upon. The realization of this project will thus contribute to strengthened research and analysis capacity and improved policy cooperation on security policy between Norway and Romania, and hence also contribute to a higher level of security and resilience in both societies. By building enhanced mutual awareness of the security challenges in the two regions of strategic importance to NATO, the High North and the Black Sea Region, the project will also contribute to strengthen the solidarity dimension in the two NATO states.

Funding program

The project is funded by EEA Bilateral funds, Romania