Rapallo’s spirit will hinder the development of the Three Seas Initiative?


When Germany and Soviet Russia concluded the Rapallo Treaty in 1922, the whole world was outraged, and Poland was seriously concerned. There were fears in Warsaw that the consequence of this treaty would be a joint German-Soviet policy. This is what happened, and the result was aggression against Poland. Even after losing World War II, the Germans did not renounce the spirit of Rapallo, which dominates their politics to this day and may significantly harm the development of the Three Seas Initiative.

Although Germany has observer status in the Three Seas Initiative, they are taking steps to become a party to this project, and even more – they have ambitions to give it direction. At the same time, their foreign policy is still characterized by the spirit of Rapallo – economic cooperation with Russia – despite the total disgrace of this policy. This means that if they really managed to enter the Three Seas Initiative and take the initiative (repetition of the maneuver within the EU), they would certainly either destroy this project right away or paralyze it to such an extent that it was only a facade with no power behind it. Therefore, the decision of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who opposed this accession, was the right one.

During the Three Seas Summit in Riga, a decision was made to grant Ukraine the status of a participating partner, which clearly undermines Russian interests, as well as the German vision, according to which Ukraine belongs to the Russian sphere of influence (hence Berlin’s strong resistance to helping Ukrainians fighting). The German-Russian concept is to create an economic space from Vladivostok to Lisbon, which would de facto end up subordinating the entire European Union to the concert of these two powers, and in this concept there is no room for any initiative capable of strengthening the region of Central and Eastern Europe economically. And it doesn’t matter that the Nord Stream gas pipelines were blown up, because the German-Russian alliance for dominance in Eurasia still exists. Dmitry Medvedev expressed it quite clearly after the start of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the German side did not provide a correction, which means that the matter has not lost its topicality on its part, and Berlin is just waiting for the opportune moment to return to its old businesses.

The Three Seas Initiative is therefore in such a difficult situation that if it agrees to let Germany into its ranks, it should expect a hostile takeover. If it fails to do so, the authorities in Berlin will continue to work to limit the development of this initiative, which they see as a competition for their project. Berlin should realize how many benefits it can get from cooperation with the Three Seas Initiative, whose countries are Germany’s main trading partners. So why does it focus on the space from Vladivostok to Lisbon? It is reassuring that, remaining outside the Three Seas Initiative community, Germans have slightly less firepower than if they were a member.

The Treaty of Rapallo included not only German-Russian economic cooperation, but also military cooperation. It is difficult for contemporary Germany as a member of NATO to openly take the side of Russia, but this military cooperation can be seen in the form of refraining from helping the fighting Ukrainians. It seems that the structure of the North Atlantic Treaty has been hard on Berlin, and not from today – it is enough to recall the earlier insubordination of this country when it comes to the agreed level of funding for the army. Germany undoubtedly has a serious nut to crack, because on the one hand, it would like to see itself together with Russia in dominating Europe, and on the other hand, the current ambitions have led to a decrease in their importance and a strengthening of the position of the Central and Eastern European countries gathered in the Three Seas Initiative. What’s more, they also have no idea how to rebuild their position, not to

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