Original published by PolskaRacja; translation by J.Hawk
Part 1: Intermarium
Part 2: Nordic Union
Intermarium is gradually becoming a fact. The countries of the region are creating an alliance. Last year, during the 70th UN General Assembly session, the first meeting of the “Adriatic–Baltic–Black Sea” group of countries took place. The next steps aimed at these countries’ closer integration are being made right now.
The group consists of: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria. These countries’ leaders used the General Assembly session as an opportunity for a group meeting.
Krzysztof Szczerski explains what assumptions Poland’s President Andrzej Duda laid out at the group’s meeting:
–“The president mentioned three conditions. Political trust among these countries. Strategic planning. This is the last chance to use funds flowing from the EU for the benefit of the unified Eastern-Central Europe. Duda also said that from the perspective of EU fiscal policy we have to come across as a community, as a chain of countries with strategic, political, and business links.”
Duda refers to the Adriatic–Baltic–Black Sea group as “ABC” [Adriatyk, Bałtyk, Morze Czarne]. The meeting was organized by Croatia:
–“We came up with the idea at approximately the same time as president Duda,” said Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
Elected in February 2015, she already outlined her vision for Intermarium.
Kolinda–which is how Croats refer to her–has high domestic support and political backing. There are voices in the political, academic, and economic spheres saying that the president was the first to define Croatia’s independent position in the world. Kitarović is basing her argument on 19th Century history and the union of many nations under the Habsburg monarchy which united, within the borders of a single state, both the Croats on the Adriatic and the Poles in Krakow. Political observers note this is the first instance of grand-scale independent thinking on international matters, something that her predecessors lacked.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović views Central-Eastern Europe of the future as a union of interests, in the realm of political and energy security. She also views it as a union of countries interested in increasing trade and drawing attention to the region which should not have a separate political structure but whose power should influence affairs on the continent and int he world.
President Duda has been working closely with Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. They met 4 times in the space of 5 months, most recently in January when Croatia’s president made a 3-day visit to Poland. On January 28, the Polish-Croatian Chamber of Commerce held a meeting, and Kitarović brought with her representatives from over 50 Croatian firms, to meet with over 80 Polish investors and manufacturers.”
“We have spent too much effort on strengthening relations between East and West, neglecting the links between North and South. Central Europe between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Sea is facing identical economic and geopolitical challenges,” Croatia’s president said during a joint press availability. “This is a genuine initiative originating from Central Europe. President Duda and I came up with it at about the same time.”
“Adriatic, Baltic, Black Sea, these are our ABCs, our part of Europe which we must strengthen in order to show that we have our own views here,” said presidential minister Krzysztof Szczerski after the conference.
The effort to integrate these countries is showing its first results. The Vyshehrad Group has been reanimated and is becoming trouble for the EU. On January 20, the meeting of the V4 countries plus Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia, reached a common position on the migration issue. VG is currently developing a shared position concerning the EU-UK agreement in migrants.
Cooperation among the ABC region countries also has military and economic dimensions. In February, Lithuania’s minister of defense said he wants to create a joint air defense system with Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.
On February 5, the Czeczh Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Mládek met with Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski. Their discussions centered on gas and petroleum integration of Central Europe and support for a gas pipeline between Poland and Czech Republic that would, together with other infrastructure being built in both countries, become an element of the North-South Corridor integrating all the natural gas networks of VG countries and Croatia. It would enable Czech Republic to gain access to the Polish LNG terminal.
The Intermarium is becoming a fact. Pilsudski’s idea is being realized. This is the ideal moment. EU is experiencing a crisis, and Intermarium is an idea that not only Poland but also other countries in the region want. The Law and Justice party knows there will be no second chance like this and is using the situation to build a new alliance.
J.Hawk’s Comment: Even though the article is referring to this creation as Intermarium, in fact it has little to do with Pilsudski’s visions which centered on territories to Poland’s East (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics). This is more like a resuscitated Austro-Hungarian Empire, and even though both Polish and Croatian presidents are taking credit for it, what are the odds they came up with the idea simultaneously without any whispers from…Vienna? With the exception of the Baltic States, the “ABC” group looks suspiciously like what the Habsburg empire looked on the eve of World War 1.
One should not be surprised that countries of the region, Austria included, are pursuing such ideas. They are heavily exposed to the refugee crisis which has rocked their internal politics in surprising ways (Austria’s recent election is but the most recent example). It is too early to say what this group of countries’ political orientation would be. The “Intermarium” and “Nordic Union” have a very anti-Russian bent, but “ABC” has a more mixed composition as it includes several countries (Hungary, Czech Republic and, most importantly, Austria) whose relations with Russia are actually pretty pragmatic and even enlightened. Moreover, while “Intermarium’s” core country would be Poland and “Nordic Union’s”–Sweden, in the case of ABC it would be the old imperial seat, Vienna, that would play the first fiddle once again.