The union of the Central-Eastern Europe countries, which are located between the Black, Baltic and Adriatic Seas, aimed to protect the common foreign policy interests of the neighboring countries.
Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Belarus, Slovenia and Macedonia are the potential participants of the Intermarium.
The purpose is common upholding of the national, economic, cultural, political interests on the international stage. Due to joint efforts, there will be created the conditions not only for overcoming of stagnation of the region, but also for the innovative breakthrough and the achieving of leadership in economic, scientific, technological and military spheres.
At the initial stage, the example of the Nordic Council, which comprises Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, can be the working model for Intermarium. The countries of the Nordic Council belong to different military and political blocs. Norway and Iceland belong only to NATO, but don’t belong to the EU; Finland and Sweden belong to the EU, but don’t belong to NATO; Denmark belongs both to NATO and the EU. This fact does not prevent the countries of the Nordic Council to coordinate their foreign and internal policy at the level of governments and parliaments.
The main principle of the Nordic Council and in the future of Intermarium too, is the criterion of the “mutual benefit”, which consists in abiding of three principles:
- to conduct activities, which are possible at the national level, but also are conjoint for the countries of the Union and essentially improve its efficiency;
- to show and to propagate the solidarity of the Union countries on the international stage;
- to enhance the value and importance of competence and competitive ability of the Union countries.
The Intermarium countries, as well as the Nordic Council countries, now belong to different political and military blocs. But this should not prevent the creation of the efficient mechanisms for the intergovernmental partnership at all the levels. Already, the revival of the scientific and industrial potential, the revival of the economics and defense potential of our countries, the creation of conjoint energy and infrastructure projects, joint counteraction to international organized crime activity and terrorism, the development of cultural partnership between our countries are the urgent necessities.
Today, the Intermarium countries have started the cooperation:
- in the military sphere – the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG) is formed for the improvement of the security situation in the region;
- in the political sphere – the alliance of the “The Visegrad Four” (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) asserts national and regional interests of the countries in the EU;
- in the energy sphere – the countries of Intermarium counteract the Russian-German project of gas pipeline “Nord Stream 2”: the realization of further construction of Polish-Ukrainian gas pipeline “Sarmatia” en route from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea is planned, the project of building of the interconnector from the underground gas storage facilities “Bilche-Volytsya” (Lviv region) to the gas transfer point at the Ukrainian-Polish border “Drozdoviche” is processed for the purpose of increasing of gas import from Europe to Ukraine through Poland, and also for the storage of European gas in the underground gas storage facilities of Ukraine and its transportation to the consumers in the EU countries;
- in the economic sphere – Polish-Ukrainian investment programs are significant in both countries – in the first half of 2016, Polish investments to Ukraine amounted 791 million dollars. The volume of the real Ukrainian investments in the Republic of Poland exceeds 1 billion dollars;
The new dimension of the partnership of the Central-Eastern countries will allow changing today’s status of the region as the “buffer zone” between the military and the political blocs, and also will make it global scientific, economic and military leader.
The history and grounds for the revival today
Intermarium is not only a natural geopolitical project for the Central and Eastern Europe countries in the geographic and historical-cultural aspect. Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, on the one hand, and the isolationist course in the US foreign policy, on the other, are the factors that make up 80% of the favorable geopolitical conjecture for the formation of this project in the XXI century. The remaining 20% are comprised by the political will of the countries in the region and the respective systematic work.
Nowadays there are at least three doctrines of Intermarium which are being gradually rediscovered today: Ukrainian Black Sea doctrine by Yurii Lypa, Polish concept of Intermarium by Józef Piłsudski and Baltic-Black Sea elaborations by Lithuanian general Pēteris Radziņš, who also served in the headquarters of Pavlo Skoropadsky’s army and then in the Ukrainian People’s Republic under command of Symon Petliura.
The membership of the Intermarium was seen differently by the authors of these doctrines, but the common prevailed. Lypa drew attention to the Black Sea countries, viewing Poland as a part of the Baltic area and considering Belarus as the shield of Ukraine. Radziņš included to the Baltic-Black Sea union the countries which belonged to the Russian Empire: the Baltic States, Finland, Poland and Ukraine. Like Piłsudski, he remarked the threat as from Russia and from Germany too, however, along with Lypa, he assigned a key role in determining the region’s fate for Ukraine, not for Poland. Piłsudski, similarly to Lypa, complemented his scheme of integration of the Intermarium countries with the doctrine of “partition of Russia” to possible national states – “the prometheism”. Unlike Radziņš, he didn’t include Finland to the Intermarium, but along with Lypa, included Romania, in comparison with both extending the Baltic-Black Sea triangle with the Central Europe countries: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary. At the same time, each of them defended the change of the orientation “East-West” to the natural for our region and for the Europe entirely “North-South” vector, accordingly to the ancient trade route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”.
However, currently, for us makes sense not the literal reconstruction of some of the mentioned models of Intermarium brought to life by historical conditions of the interwar Europe, but rather the embodiment of the geopolitical intuition which lies in its base and remains permanent. Exactly: only joined for the purpose of defense, the Intermarium countries are able to assert their national sovereignty and identity upon the newest threats from the East and from the West. And conversely, the price of disunity, discord and “national heroism” can be too high, resulting in chain wrecking of the nation-building of the countries, which, having forgotten the conclusions of the past, may naively try to “sit at the dinner table” with the common enemy of the region.
Today, the perspective of Józef Piłsudski prevails in the terms of the Intermarium structure. Not coincidentally, the idea of the Intermarium in the diplomatic and social space of the region began to spread widely since the inauguration of new president of Poland, the conservative Andrzej Duda. The informational revival of the idea continued with active promotion by the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, consequently, in such a manner, the Intermarium idea expanded far beyond the narrow Baltic-Black Sea format (“the format of two seas”) into the so-called “three seas format”. Exactly the Croatian leader created the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group, which includes 12 EU member states, in geopolitical terms, centered around “The Visegrad Four” that becomes growingly autonomous from the tandem “Berlin-Brussels” (as it sometimes turns into a trio with the addition of “-Moscow”).
There are some reasons to predict that the oncoming traffic between the countries-locomotives of the Eastern European alternative will allow forming of a new subject of the global politics, the strong community of the strong nations – the Intermarium.