From Intermarium to the Three Seas Initiative – The Meanders of Poland’s Foreign Policy in Central Europe
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2018-03-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(1):95-115
The article was inspired by the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence. It comprises a critical appraisal of Polish foreign policy in Central Europe in terms of crucial challenges encountered en route to ensuring the country’s independence, sovereignty, and overall security. Particular attention is paid to the concepts originated and co-sponsored by Polish government, with a view to developing robust regional cooperation. In the interwar period, these were the projects originally developed by Józef Piłsudski’s political faction, focused on setting up a federation and the Intermarium. The principal reason for their failure was attributed to the incidence of border problems. During the Cold War period and Poland’s membership in the Eastern Bloc, Poland as a state was effectively stripped of any chances to pursue an active and independent foreign policy, whereas Central Europe as a political commonwealth of nations remained merely a shell concept throughout. After 1989, Polish government was keenly interested in developing regional structures and enhancing regional cooperation. Central Europe re-emerged, and so did a number of regional organisations. The Visegrad Group (V4) countries proved of special importance to Poland. Cooperation, or an occasional lack of it, were to a large extent determined by the aspirations of respective countries to join NATO and integrate with the European Union. Following the change of government in 2015, the key assumptions and building blocks of Polish foreign policy were also reformulated. Regional cooperation in Central Europe, especially within the fold of V4 countries, has become one of the crucial objectives. Besides, the Three Seas Initiative was launched as a brand-new political project, alas drawing directly upon the original, interwar concept of Intermarium. These efforts were accompanied by the government’s slogans of the need to oppose German domination in Europe.
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