THE THREE SEAS INITIATIVE - A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUCCESS
Is there a link between Donald Trump's strategic support for the energy and infrastructural projects of the Intermarium region countries and the promise of Jean-Claude Juncker - the President of the European Commission - to prevent the US sanctions against the Russian-German North Stream 2 project? Hence, we can conclude that strategic ways and geopolitical interests of the States and the European Union paths have been diverging.
The threats of Juncker were as predictable as Trump's disagreement with demands to impose sanctions on Poland for refusing "refugee quotas." In his speech-panegyric to Poles - who have been taken cource on revival the Occidental culture - on July 6 at the Three Seas Summit in Warsaw, the US chairman for the firs time represened the Euro-Atlanticism content in the form attractive to European conservatives.
Whatever it was, in both cases have a diplomatic failure of Ukraine's leadership, who still have been basing their foreign policy, or rather, own political image on illusions of "pro-Ukrainian EU."
Let's remind the beginning of 2014 in Ukraine. The so-called "united opposition forces" had situationally been sharing same side of barricades with nationalists during anti-Yanukovych protests. In those days, an opinion had been dwelling in the corridors of administrative buildings - captured by nationalist protesters - that the liberal "opposition" helps the Maidan revolution to gain international recognition. In the early years of Poroshenko's presidency, the pro-Government media had tried to reduce the margin of the nationalist forces' authority in the society, representing them as "radicals" whose actions are aimed to "alienate" Ukraine from the West and "create a picture for Putin's propaganda" in every possible way.
And now, the fact that the US leader had visit to Poland before the G20 Summit has proven once again that right political way remains quite perspective vector of development, as well as the fact that it is current Ukraine's political elites who alienate us from the occidental world. What's more obvious is that the EU chairmen not just maintain economic cooperation with Russia on the sly, but also putting roadblocks against the projects of energy self-sufficiency in Central and Eastern Europe.
Recognizing the infrastructure as a key factor in increasing the region's competitiveness, Polish President Andrzej Duda has announced the preparation of more than 150 infrastructure projects based on intelligence data, provided by Croatian leader Colinda Grabar-Kitarovich. On June 20, Hungary and Croatia signed a memorandum on the development of a common gas corridor, more precisely, with a return flow in the direction of Hungary. Although Hungary has not yet abandoned the South Stream, which is able to supply Russian gas through the Black Sea bypassing Ukraine, the Hungarian side acknowledged that the lack of infrastructure for the reverse of gas from Croatia and Romania made it think about energy cooperation with Russia.
The planned Hungarian-Croatian project will become part of the North-South gas corridor, which will connect the LNG terminal in the Polish Swinoua with the future terminal on the Croatian island of Krk - indee it is a plan that serves the ambitions of the Intermarium's energy self-sufficiency, declared at the forum in Dubrovnik last summer. In turn, it will potentially help Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to diversify own energy supply systems.
Although Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman expressed his readiness to join the Adriatic Gas Corridor project, and Belarus's resident Alexander Lukashenko during his recent visit to Ukraine confirmed plans to jointly use the transit potential of Ukraine in the "Mozyr-Brody" sector for the supply of Iranian and Azerbaijanian oil, Ukraine Remains on the verge of topical geopolitical trends. As for now, it is only the nationalists, who insists on the development of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline as well as the Intermarium way of geopolitical advance.
It is noteworthy that in Poland - where confrontation between the liberal and nationalist camp had intensified after judicial reform initiated by the PiS - the Three Seas initiative has been preceived with scepticism by some representatives of local political circles. Local EU lobbyists have been insisting that the project is dangerous, realizing it gets the most distinctive features of the EU's political and economic rival. Given that Andrzej Duda has long and unsuccessfully proposed Petro Poroshenko to make a political choice in favor of cooperation with Ukraine's natural allies, it is clear that current Ukrainian authorities are not interested in such sort of geopolitical transformations. Given that Andrzej Duda has long and unsuccessfully proposed Petro Poroshenko to make a political choice in favor of cooperation with Ukraine's natural allies, it is clear that current Ukrainian authorities are not interested in such sort of geopolitical transformations, that can disturb their old and convenient financial flows - including those coming from the northern neighbor. This is what unites Ukrainian elites with the EU's ones.
However, as the Polish analitists remind, the Three Seas alliance initiative had quite a modest start. The purely theoretical phase of macro-regional interaction has been moved into practical area only by the impetus of Russian invasion to Ukraine, which does not promise a quick and constructive solution. Then, in 2015, its formation continued in the format of the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group. The first meeting of the Group, consisting of the leaders of the 12 EU member states, was held within the UN summit in New York, the second - in Croatian, Dubrovnik, where it has got an official name the Three Seas Initiative (3S) by analogy with the Visegrad Group (V4). And now, the 3S has an official ally in the face of the world hegemon, and Romanian President Klaus Johannis invited the Warsaw summit to hold their next year's meeting in his country.
Actually, the uncertain start of the Initiative could be explained not only by the lack of American support to right politicans - like Duda and Kitarovich - which appeared only when the Republicans have gained power. At the start, some representatives of the union were trying to be not so "anti-Kremlin," others were careful to avoid anti-German (ie anti-EU) statements, as for the rest - they were disturbed about potential status of Poland as a regional superpower. However, from today's point of view, (by which we'll end our review) not only in Poland, but also in other countries, there is a perception that accession to the EU and NATO has deprived the region's countries of aspirations for something bigger, and this is what the Initiative of the Three Seas can become. It will not be an exaggeration to outline these aspirations by already usual slogan "Make Europe Great Again." An the key point is that exactly the Central/East European region is in the vanguard of the precess, having being originally motivated by the aspiration to getting rid of the role of the EU's peripheral zone.
On the other hand, despite all theortetical threats to the EU, that bears the new Euro-Atlanticism in the implementation of the Visegrad Group, its leaders have numerously emphasized the desire to effective integration with whole Europe. According to the Road Ahead large-scale audit study, conducted by the Atlantic Council jointly with the PwC (which has been recently prohibited by the Natsbank of Ukraine from conducting an audit of Ukrainian banks), the 3S Initiative has already received 150 billion euros for infrastructure projects and needs another 615 billion investment funds by 2025. Apparently, the projected lack of investment from the EU is intended to offset the Business Forum, whose launching plan was announced by Trump at the Warsaw Summit. Among other things, it is about the establishment of appropriate banks and investment funds with the assistance of the States. The need of their fundation was emphasized and at the Second Conference of the Intermarium Facilitation Group, held on April 27 in Kiev on the initiative of the the National Corps Ukraine's nationalist party.
However, it is clear to everyone that, taking into account the centrifugal dynamics in the European Union, the long-term "patronage" of America is capable of turning the central-eastern region first to the main geopolitical partner of the United States, and then to the leader of Europe, who will receive the necessary levers for self-policy. Ukraine - which, due to its natural geo-economic potential, may well qualify for one of the leading places in Eastern Europe - is still very poorly included in these processes, and it is precisely the fault of the country chairmen, who block all steps in this direction. Whether the alternative European integration held Ukraine to overcome the inner crisis - that has been artificially dragged out by the parasitic class in the power - it depends, first of all, on the consolidation of all civil forces around the new generation of nationalists who have stepped over patriotic populism and are capable of acting in terms of real politics.
by Olena SEMENYAKA, National Crops