Research & Studies

Central Europe Within the European Union – written by Iván Bába


“The trauma of World War II led the best European politicians of the postwar era to the insight that future wars in Europe could be avoided by eliminating any potential of military conflict. Seventy years have passed since then, and the world, including Europe, has changed. Currently, Brexit and international migration are big challenges for Europe. The historical experiences of peoples in Central Europe, the series of events in the past two hundred years fundamentally define the “perception of security” within these communities. This sense of and demand for security, in turn, have a key role in forging and shaping the international relations of countries within our region. Unsurprisingly, in 1990, the year when communism collapsed in Central Europe, freed from Soviet rule, almost all newly formed democratic governments designated NATO membership as a guarantee of their security. They strove to join a federal system that would allow them to rely on the same guarantees of security
as did Western European countries.

The member states of the European Union accelerated negotiations on more and more frequently raised issues of a common foreign and security policy. In a geopolitical sense – and in terms of its historical experiences – Central Europe is located within the Berlin – Moscow – Istanbul triangle, which is an unalterable status. Berlin is an ally and our biggest, key economic partner. It is in our interest to have good partnership relations with Moscow, but we must be aware that Russian politics has always been – and will be – driven by imperial interest. As a NATO member, Turkey is also our ally, but the steps it took in recent years, in both domestic and foreign policies, were by no means evidence of a friendly attitude towards and the commitment of an ally to the West. Turkey begins to emerge as one of the leading countries of the Islamic world, gradually leaving behind the domestic policy of a secular state. Therefore Central Europe – forming the eastmost part of the European Union – borders all the eastern and south-eastern regions which carry security risks. The wave of migrants from the south and south-east keeps these regions, Greece and her northern neighbours under constant pressure. Another grave risk factor is the Union’s eastern borderland, that is, the region next to the eastern boundary of the Baltics, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. As geopolitical factors, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are not the carriers of democratic stability. Although Central Europe’s geopolitical position cannot be changed, common European and Euro-Atlantic security safeguards may guarantee defence in this position.

The article – written by Iván Bába former diplomat – was published in the Central European Issues 2021/1 of the University of Silesia.

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