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.

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.

08/06/2021

Abstract: The current paper explores the current network infrastructure between the Visegrad Group countries, and the developments in the recent years, as well as problems and issues of connectivity. The paper analyses the corridors of the TEN-T network, including railways, roads, and other types of connectivity along the core European corridors in the V4 countries.

08/06/2021

Abstract: The countries of Central Europe are neither from an economic, nor from a military point of view belong to the strong actors of the European Union. However, within the framework of the Visegrad Cooperation, they have been consulting for more than three decades and in some key fields are even shaping their policy with respect to the interest of the others.

08/06/2021

Abstract: “The V4 has become a well-known brand ‒ a symbol of a successful initiative for pursuing joint interests and a central element of cooperation in Central Europe.” – stipulated in the 2016 Polish Presidency Program. This current study seeks to outline the evolution of the V4’s image, how it shaped itself from an intellectual idea to a leading but controversial political brand in the CEE region over the 30 years of its history.