Geopolitics

Head of Research Group: Anton Bendarzsevszkij Members: Enikő Bagoly, Dávid Nagy, Tamás Orbán, Péter Szitás

Understanding geopolitical processes in the XXI. century is more important than ever. This is especially true for our region: the size of a given country, its resources, the population that lives there, and perhaps even more, the geographical position of the state determines its foreign policy and its room for manoeuvres. With the help of geopolitics, we can fundamentally understand international relations and the motivations and behaviour of global actors. More importantly, we can anticipate foreign policy processes and thus prepare for them, become active participants and contributors. Whether it is question of energy supplies, defense policy, EU enlargement, the functioning of international institutions or water policy, it is important that we remain more than just passive observers of global events. The Danube Institute’s Geopolitics Research Group analyses and interprets these geopolitical processes for domestic and international readers and decision-makers - from the distinctive perspective of the Visegrad Group.

12/10/2021

Abstract: The outcome of the German elections in 2021 could significantly transform not only the country’s domestic political relations, but also the political and economic status quo of the EU and Central and Eastern Europe. The present study aims to present the main factors in the dynamics of German-Polish relations, highlighting the most important points of agreement and difference, which will significantly impact the foreign policy of the two countries.

22/09/2021

The sixteen years of the chancellorship of Angela Merkel, which remarkably impacted not just Germany, but all of Europe, was also a decisive era of the bilateral relations between Hungary and Germany. In the ‘Merkel era’, the economic and trade relations of the two countries have developed dynamically, as Hungary became a main target country of German investors, while Germany secured the primary place among Hungary’s export and import partners. But becoming a part of the supply chain of the German (primarily automotive) industry would not have been possible without Merkel’s ‘realpolitik’ approach, which allowed detente between the countries in times of political disagreement and pragmatic focus on economic relations.

21/09/2021

Abstract: Immediately after the disintegration of Czechoslovakia in 1992, the two successor states took a politically different direction: while the Czech Republic oriented to the West, Slovakia was initially much more interested in moving toward the East. This, however, proved to be only a temporary difference in their attitudes, as both states are today members of the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia happened smoothly, and the mutual Czech and Slovak hostility of the 1990s has also evaporated during recent years. Both Visegrád countries see each other as partners in all areas of life. Their main goal is the same: to maintain the existence, influence and prosperity of the nation-state, while continuously increasing the well-being of the population. Through her economic and political influence, Germany plays the key role in achieving the latter.

28/07/2021

Abstract: Many journalists and political scientists suspect that a Democrat-led White House would quickly return to the kind of interventionalism which made Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize feel a bit rushed in hindsight, but it was still surprising how fast Biden moved to continue his former boss’ legacy. No new war broke out yet, but the first couple of months were enough to focus media attention to a number of international issues that could become bases of new conflicts any time soon. As if the new administration was slowly building up new evils and enemies for the American public, to justify an incidental invasion in the coming years, should the strategic need ever arise.

01/07/2021

The sources of energy that enable the economic stability and development of Central and Western Europe are predominantly located in the Russian Federation. It is ambiguous, however, how these raw materials can physically get from the Russian gas fields to Central and Western Europe. During the years of the bipolar world, Ukraine, as a member state of the Soviet Union, served as the primary transit country towards the West, however, after the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc, the smoothness of this route has slowly evaporated. From the beginning of the second decade of the new millennium, the Russian-Ukrainian relations have reached a century-long depth, which necessitated the construction of alternative energy routes bypassing Ukraine. One of these new paths is the TurkStream gas pipeline, on which Turkey – and indirectly – Central Europe might win a lot.

01/07/2021

Russia’s long-held monopoly over the eastern half of Europe’s gas supplies – along with the discovery of a massive gas field in Azerbaijan – birthed the idea of the Southern Gas Corridor, a proposed network of pipelines that would introduce gas from the Caspian and Middle Eastern regions into Europe through the Balkans, decreasing Moscow’s political and economic influence in the EU. During the 2000s, several competing projects arose to realise the imagined purpose of the Corridor, including two highly politicised ones, both of which were cancelled eventually. The Nabucco and the South Stream pipelines offered unique chances for both Brussels and Moscow to weaken or strengthen Central Europe’s dependency on Russian gas, but in the end, it was their fight that gave the opportunity for a third project to actually close the deal.

01/07/2021

On November 15, 2020, the Southern Gas Corridor started its operation delivering natural gas from the Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan to the European consumers. The interregional mega energy project, involving several countries, the EU, and international energy consortiums, is considered to be a significant step in increasing the EU’s energy security and diversifying its energy suppliers. However, the 3500 km long pipeline with its 10 billion cubic meters of annual capacity doesn’t seem like a gamechanger on the European energy market but still can make some European countries less dependent from the Russian energy and can facilitate energy infrastructure developments on the Balkans as well.

01/07/2021

2021 opened a new chapter in Hungary's energy history in several aspects. First of all, the country managed to sign the first-ever long-term gas purchase contract with a Western partner by agreeing with Shell in buying 250 million cubic meters (mcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually for six years, with the aim of increasing this capacity up to 1 billion cubic meters annually (bcm). Besides, by agreeing to use the Krk terminal in Croatia, not only the supplier but the direction of liquefied gas supply has also widened, opening an alternative gas supply opportunity to Hungary for the first time in 70 years.