Charles III’s Visit to Bucharest: What Messages the United Kingdom is Sending?

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

According to international media reports, King Charles III of the United Kingdom will pay one of his first foreign visits to Romania on June 2, 2023.[1] It can be stated that this development is of great importance as it is one of the first foreign visits of Charles III and it contains some symbolic messages. In essence, this visit can be considered in the context of the London administration’s goal of “Global Britain”.

In order to clarify the aforementioned situation, it should be noted that Britain’s foreign policy after leaving the European Union (EU) through Brexit has been dominated by the desire to reposition itself as a global power as it was before the Second World War. In this sense, the London administration wants to increase its influence in Eurasian geopolitics, which all geopolitical theories attach special importance to, and thus seeks ways to expand into Eurasia.  Therefore, it can be said that Eastern Europe is the gateway to Eurasia for the UK. That is why the London administration is taking concrete steps to contain and limit Russia. Moreover, these policies are being pursued with determination despite the Prime Ministerial changes in the UK. This means that London has adopted the goal of “Global Britain” as a supra-governmental state policy.

In fact, the UK’s foreign policy both in the run-up to and during the Russian-Ukrainian War revealed the political background and global vision of the Brexit decision. Since the beginning of the war, EU countries have adopted a much more cautious stance than the United States (US) and the UK and refrained from imposing sanctions and providing aid that would affect the outcome of the war and thus draw the reaction of Russia. The EU member states even sought to ensure a ceasefire. On the other hand, the UK-US duo took a stance in favor of prolonging the war, spearheading aid to Ukraine and focusing on turning the war into a “war of attrition” for Russia.

The beginning of Britain’s policy on this issue can be traced back to the Trilateral Cooperation Alliance signed between Britain, Poland and Ukraine on February 17, 2022, days before the start of the Russian-Ukrainian War.  As a matter of fact, the war started days after the aforementioned agreement, and the support provided by the UK, as well as the corridor role assumed by Poland in the aid delivered to Ukraine during the war, played a decisive role in increasing the resistance of the Kiev administration. In other words, the UK-Poland-Ukraine alliance worked in a healthy way.

On the other hand, while the war was going on, there was talk that the Trans-Dniester region could be the next target of Russia’s strategy to activate frozen conflict zones within the framework of the Near Periphery Doctrine, also known as the Primakov Doctrine, and various allegations began to be discussed in this context. Some statements have even deepened Moldova’s security concerns. It is known that there are pro-Russian separatist groups in Moldova’s Trans-Dniester Region, just like in eastern Ukraine. On the other hand, there is also a strong tendency in the administration of Kshinev to be annexed to Romania. Therefore, if Russia intervenes in Trans-Dniester by drawing Moldova into the war, it is possible that Moldova may decide to join Romania. If this decision were to be accepted by the Bucharest administration, Romania could request the adoption of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Treaty, whereby an attack against it would be considered an attack against all allied states. This would mean a Russia-NATO conflict and therefore a Third World War.

The fact that Charles III was to visit Bucharest at a time when such a debate was taking place is a remarkable development. It seems that England was making an effort to increase pressure on Russia through Romania. At the same time, this situation also aims to increase the courage and determination of Bucharest.

In strategic terms, it can be argued that this visit had two objectives. The first one is to show through Romania that NATO’s presence in the Black Sea, and consequently the siege imposed on Russia, will be maintained. In fact, Moscow believes that NATO is encircling it through the Black Sea. The critical threshold was the NATO membership of Romania and Bulgaria, two former Eastern Bloc countries, in 2004. Therefore, one of the Kremlin’s goals for the war is to cut Ukraine’s Black Sea connection and thus prevent the Black Sea from becoming a “NATO Lake”. At this point, the King of England seems to want to send the message that NATO is committed to its Black Sea policy against Russia..

Secondly, it can be argued that the UK has a desire to expand the alliance it is trying to build on the Poland-Ukraine line in the context of its Eurasianization strategy to include Moldova and Romania. This can be interpreted as London’s attempt to create a geopolitical axis in the region. Therefore, the fact that one of Charles III’s first foreign visits will be to Bucharest reveals that Britain considers Romania as one of the key actors in its Eurasianization strategy.

As a result, Charles III made one of his first foreign visits to Romania, demonstrating the importance he attached to this country. Thus, the London administration, on the one hand, signaled that NATO would continue its strategy of encircling Russia through the Black Sea, and on the other hand, showed that it wanted to expand the Poland-Ukraine axis to include Moldova and Romania.

[1] “Update: King Charles III Reportedly Expected in Romania on June 2”, Romania Insider,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2023).

Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN
Dr. Doğacan BAŞARAN, 2014 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2017 yılında Giresun Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası Güç İlişkileri Bağlamında İkinci Dünya Savaşı Sonrası Hegemonik Mücadelelerin İncelenmesi’’ başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora derecesini ise 2021 yılında Trakya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı‘nda hazırladığı “İmparatorluk Düşüncesinin İran Dış Politikasına Yansımaları ve Milliyetçilik” başlıklı teziyle alan Başaran’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Uluslararası ilişkiler kuramları, Amerikan dış politikası, İran araştırmaları ve Afganistan çalışmalarıdır. Başaran iyi derecede İngilizce ve temel düzeyde Farsça bilmektedir.