The "Three Seas Initiative" will strengthen disagreements in Europe

06.07.2017 09:02

On the eve of the meeting of representatives of the participating countries of the "Three Seas Initiative" (TSI) project in Warsaw on July 6, the British news agency Reuters reported: "Trump will use fast-growing natural gas reserves in the US as a political tool when he meets in Warsaw on Thursday with leaders of the ten Countries dependent on Russia on the energy issue".

Washington's similar rhetoric coincides with the calls of the Polish conservative circles to revive the idea of the "Intermarium" for the creation of a confederation of countries of Central and Eastern Europe, offered by Józef Piłsudski after the First World War. In fact, the TSI is the same project of the "Intermarium", but with an emphasis on the energy and economic spheres. President of Poland Andrzej Duda noted that the formation of an alliance of countries located between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas can be a counterbalance to the domination of the major states of this region. The key points in the implementation of this plan are the reduction of Europe's dependence on Russian energy supplies, the isolation of Russia and the avoidance of Germany's dominance on the European continent.

It is no coincidence that Duda invited Kiev to join the TSI. Recently, Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic countries have intensified their interaction against the backdrop of "Russian aggression" and the need to confront Moscow as their common enemy. One of the vectors of this struggle is the economic pressure on Moscow and the creation of alternative gas supply routes.

However, not all countries of Central and Eastern Europe are ready to support the Poland initiatives. The leaders of Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic doubt the feasibility of their participation in the TSI. According to an unnamed representative of the Czech diplomatic mission, Prague refused to attend the meeting in Warsaw as it considers unacceptable the idea of "Intermarium" – "the great-power concept of Józef Piłsudski".

On the one hand, European countries are skeptical of Poland's intentions because of its "imperial ambitions" in the region. On the other hand, TSI is the imposition of unpopular ideas as most countries are content all existing channels of energy resources, and they see no reason to invest in the construction of new infrastructure because of the political goals of individual states. In addition, between the countries of Central and Eastern Europe themselves there are disagreements: from the realism of the project and ending with the attitude towards Russia.

Not all countries are ready to sacrifice national interests and go to confrontation with Moscow. For example, the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban openly expresses the desire to cooperate with the Russian Federation: "Hungary needs Russia, to us it is important that Russia was open for the Hungarian production and that Hungary received energy resources from Russia". In a recent interview with Bratislava TV3, the chairman of the Slovak Parliament, Andrei Danko, said: "We are obliged to cooperate with Russia and to have excellent relations with it".

The "Three Seas Initiative" declared as an alliance which would help overcome the partition of Europe to the east and west, in fact only aggravates the disagreements of European countries. The peace initiative has acquired a clearly politicized character. Europe is divided into two camps: some states, unquestionably following the US and promoting NATO policy, and others trying to pursue their own line without regard for major military and political structures. In this connection, the question has been arisen: is TSI a step towards reforming the European Union, which has already left the UK?