Foreign Relations Committee Advances Romney Bill to Establish U.S. Strategy toward Black Sea Region

WASHINGTON—The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today advanced the Black Sea Security Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), that directs the Administration to develop a strategy toward the Black Sea region, which has increasingly become a critical inflection point for European and global security amid Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. The legislation now heads to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.

“As Vladimir Putin continues to wage his unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine, it has become clear that the United States must have both a strategy and presence in the Black Sea region,” said Senator Romney, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation. “I’m proud that my legislation with Senator Shaheen to require the Biden Administration to develop a strategy to strengthen the coordination between the U.S., NATO, and our Black Sea partners has passed out of committee. A coordinated Black Sea strategy would help increase security, support economic prosperity, and promote democracy—and I will continue to work with my colleagues to get this legislation across the finish line.”

“The Black Sea region is a crucial geopolitical inflection point in Europe, especially in the context of Putin’s war in Ukraine. The United States needs a comprehensive strategy to address the problems of today and to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow,” said Senator Shaheen, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation. “I appreciate the bipartisan support for my bill with Senator Romney, which directs the administration to provide such a strategy so we can strengthen our partnerships with NATO and Black Sea partners to counter Putin’s escalating aggression in Europe, which we know extends beyond Ukraine’s borders. I urge Senate leadership to bring our bill to the floor for full Senate consideration swiftly.” 

Specifically, the Romney-Shaheen legislation would do the following:

  • Call for a more robust foreign policy toward the Black Sea region, including increased advocacy between U.S., NATO and EU and bolstering economic ties between the U.S. and the Black Sea region;
  • Require an interagency report from the administration to outline existing efforts to support democracy, security and economic prosperity in the Black Sea region, and ask for an outline of policy options for increased engagement;
  • Require an interagency strategy to increase military assistance and coordination with NATO and the EU, deepen economic ties, strengthen democracy and economic security and enhance security assistance with Black Sea countries.

Text of the legislation is available here.