Following the Eastern EU enlargement and debates on the Constitutional Treaty, the Black Sea region has received increasing political, public and scholarly attention. This study examines the prospects for and the forms of economic , sectoral/thematic and political cooperation in the area from the perspective of the EU as well as of the local actors. The macroeconomic situation in the region is analysed as a major factor for commercial and economic cooperation. The complex networks of existing trade agreements is set in the context of national trade policies and the common commercial policy of the EU. Special attention is given to EU support for trade liberalization and regional economic integration around the Black Sea. Three specific facets of regional cooperation are considered transportation and infrastructure development, cooperation among local and regional authorities and the initiative of creating a Black Sea Euro-region, and the modalities of inter-parliamentary cooperation, with a particular emphasis on relations between the European Parliament and PABSEC. The institutional and political formats of regional cooperation are studied in an evolutionary perspective. The EUs gradual opening to multilateralism in the Black Sea area has faced the dilemma of choosing between two models of EU involvement in the region political umbrella and EU-BSEC inter-institutional relationship. The strengths and weaknesses of several home-grown formats of regional cooperation BSEC and GUAM are analysed as to their capacity of acting as the EUs main interlocutor. The paper examines also the degree of applicability in the case of Black Sea of previous experience in regional cooperation in the EUs periphery the Northern Dimension.