Central and Eastern Europe: Geopolitics and Security Issues

Issue editor: Nina Paulovicova and Tomasz Stępniewski

ISSN: 1732-1395

e-ISSN: 2719-2911

Number of pages: 265

Publisher: Instytut Europy Środkowej

Edition: Lublin 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1



Central and Eastern Europe: Imaginary Geographies, Geopolitics and Security Issues

Views count: 321
The following editorial offers a reflection on the situation of Central and Eastern Europe with a special focus on the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia. In the past few years, we have witnessed the divisive impact of neoliberalism, economic recession, Britain’s departure from the EU, the refugee and migrant crisis which further shattered societies along cultural lines, the aggressive expansionism of Russia exploiting the weakness of the West, and more recently, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with an unprecedented impact on societies, global health and economy. The editorial reflects on how Central and Eastern Europe scores among the imaginative geographies and how these imaginative geographies translate into geopolitics concerning hard and soft power application in the Eastern European Neighbourhood.
N. Paulovicova, T. Stępniewski, Central and Eastern Europe: Imaginary Geographies, Geopolitics and Security Issues, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 7-22, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.1

The perception of security threats in EU and NATO strategic documents: implications for the countries of the Eastern flank

Views count: 301
The anticipation of security threats is one of the key elements in the determination of objectives and the main direction for the functioning of states or organizations. It constitutes a fundamental basis for building capacity, aimed at counteracting the identified threats or limiting the emergence of new ones. This is also applicable to the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which in their security documents identify threats that may have an impact on their existence and future development. The purpose of this article is to identify common threats to EU and NATO security, as well as to demonstrate their impact on the security of the countries of the Eastern flank. The analyses, comparisons and generalizations are based on strategic documents concerning the sphere of EU and NATO security (the EU security strategies and the NATO strategic concepts). The analyzed timeline covered the period from the end of the Cold War until the publication of the strategic documents in question. The perception of threats to the external security of the EU and NATO was contrasted with the results of public opinion polls from the member states of both organizations. The general result leads to the conclusion that the perception of security threats, contained in the strategic documents of the above-mentioned entities, is essentially identical; however, the priorities in the scope of reducing the risks associated with the occurrence of specific threats are perceived differently, including the Eastern flank countries.
T. Zieliński, The perception of security threats in EU and NATO strategic documents: implications for the countries of the Eastern flank, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 25-42, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.2

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The 2019 NATO Summit in London in the context of Poland’s military security

Views count: 303
The paper provides reflections on NATO’s London Summit held on 3 and 4 December 2019 in the context of Poland’s military security. The paper is divided into an introduction, six sections, and a conclusion. The first section is devoted to issues of formation, functioning, and disintegration of alliances from the perspective of the theory of defensive structural realism and explains the methodological assumptions of the paper. The second section presents the atmosphere as prevailed before and during the Summit, which significantly impacted its process. The following sections are devoted to the main problems raised during the Summit from the perspective of Poland’s military security. The first involved the approval of Poland and the Baltic states’ defense plans together with a discussion on the danger of their blocking by the Turkish delegation. Another issue was the symbolic and practical confirmation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty’s significance in the perspective of the approach to Russia’s threat. The next two problems concerned the level of Member States’ defense spending and the vision of strengthening the EU’s defense potential. The paper’s main thesis is that the decisions of the NATO Summit in London have had a positive impact on Poland’s military security. However, the climate and discussions that accompanied the Summit also brought a great deal of uncertainty and revealed a growing gap between allies concerning various issues.
Jureńczyk, The 2019 NATO Summit in London in the context of Poland’s military security, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 43-59, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.3

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Annexation of Crimea and federalization of Donbas as the exemplification of hybrid warfare in Ukraine. Implications for Poland

Views count: 245
In the article, the authors attempted to analyze the actions of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine. The research goal was to justify the hypothesis that in the case of Ukraine, the neo-imperial expansionist strategy in the post-Soviet area is implemented through the deconstruction of statehood as a result of a hybrid war. The authors try to answer the following questions: what consequences can such actions have for Poland and is there a real threat from Russia for the countries of Central Europe? As a result of the analysis, the authors managed to obtain affirmative answers to the above questions.
M. Orzechowski, J. Jartyś, Annexation of Crimea and federalization of Donbas as the exemplification of hybrid warfare in Ukraine. Implications for Poland, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 61-78, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.4

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New wave of regional cooperation in Central Europe as a response to new threats

Views count: 187
The aim of the article is to examine the revival of regional cooperation in 2015 in Central Europe in the context of new challenges and threats emerging from the international environment for the security of Poland and other Central and Eastern European states. I focus on the Bucharest Nine (Bucharest format, B9), the Three Seas Initiative (3SI), and the reactivation of the Visegrad Group. The most significant research question concerns correlations between the new wave of regionalism in Central Europe and new threats. The results of the research confirm the main thesis that new threats became the primary impulse for the new wave of regional cooperation, initiated in 2015. Among the new threats, the article points out to the policy of the Russian Federation, perceived after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 as the primary source of military threat for Central Europe. In terms of non-military threats, strengthening German-Russian energy cooperation was considered as a significant challenge for the energy security of Central European states. In a broader sense, the source of most serious threats for Central Europe came from the erosion of the Euro-Atlantic system. The theoretical and methodological framework is based on realist assumptions and qualitative research methods.
A. Orzelska-Stączek, New wave of regional cooperation in Central Europe as a response to new threats, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 79-97, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.5

Adamczyk, A., ‘Visegrad Group countries and the immigration crisis in the European Union’, Przegląd Europejski, vol. 43, no. 1, 2017, https://doi.org/10.31338/1641-2478pe.1.17.1.

Backer, R., Wincławska, M., Rak, J., Metodologia badań politologicznych, Warszawa: Polskie Towarzystwo Nauk Politycznych, 2016.

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Challenges and threats to the security of the Visegrad Group countries: intensification of relations with the United States as a means to overcome risks?

Views count: 176
Since January 2017, when Donald Trump assumed the post of US president, there has been a visible intensification of relations between the United States and the countries from Central Europe, aimed at, for example, counteracting challenges and threats faced by the allies. The objective of the article is to analyze challenges and threats to Central Europe, identified by Donald Trump. He points to the necessity: 1) to strengthen NATO and increase the engagement of European allies; 2) to ensure energy security; 3) to counteract threats from two superpowers – Russia and China. The text addresses how important the challenges and threats identified by the American president have been for individual Visegrad states. The article begins by presenting characteristic features of the foreign policy conducted by Donald Trump’s administration which influence relations between the US and the Visegrad countries. It then analyzes the relations between the US and individual states regarding the previously presented challenges and threats. The article’s thesis is that Poland is the only Visegrad country to perceive all three challenges and threats in a way similar to the US, and thus cooperates with the US in this matter. The work is a comparative analysis based on content and narrative analysis.
K. Gawron-Tabor, Challenges and threats to the security of the Visegrad Group countries: intensification of relations with the United States as a means to overcome risks?, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 99-115, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.6

Baksa, B., Pál, B. Szászi, Á., Varga, G., ‘The Value of Central Europe on Donald Trump’s Map: Cooperation and Divergence on Regional Issues (1)’, KKI Policy Brief, E-09, 2020, https://kki.hu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/E- 2020-09_C-EUR-Trump_1.pdf.

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Chojan, A., ‘The United States On The Three Seas Initiative’, Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, vol. 3, 2019, https://doi.org/10.36874/riesw.2019.3.5.

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Polish energy strategy – in the quest for economy. Reflections on the Polish energy policy in the perspective of endogenous growth theory and global trends within the context of Visegrad cooperation

Views count: 185
Strategies are usually long-term plans. However, many problems appear if they are considered essential issues of social life and economic security, especially considering the need to make choices concerning conditions of limited resources. Another issue is the dilemma of achieving individual goals in the conditions of global interdependencies. One of the key requirements of nation-states is to ensure energy security; therefore, governments are strongly focused on establishing a stable, enduring, and useful energy strategy. Therefore, the point of importance is factors that will be able to ensure energy efficiency, economic stability, security, and in parallel, sustainable developmentboth on the national and global levels. Drawing from the above, this study investigates the reasons for the indispensability to carry out an energy market systemic reform in Poland with consideration of economic argumentation. The theories of economic growth, especially of endogenous kind, is taken into consideration. It is also argued that to achieve sustainable economic growth and social development in the long run, it would be reasonable to simultaneously concentrate on human capital and technologies. More advantages will be gained through intergovernmental cooperation, within regional groups such as the Visegrad Group and at the supranational EU level. This conviction is motivated by the principles of public choice theory.
J. Bokajło, Polish energy strategy – in the quest for economy. Reflections on the Polish energy policy in the perspective of endogenous growth theory and global trends within the context of Visegrad cooperation, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 117-139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.7

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Cybersecurity challenges in Poland in the face of energy transition

Views count: 181
The transformation of the energy sector is one of today’s global megatrends. The main aim of this process includes shifting energy production to renewable sources, decarbonizing the economy, and improving energy efficiency, especially in the most energy-intensive sectors. These changes lead the energy sectors of different states to ensure security and maintain environmental protection in order to guarantee the civilization’s progressive development. One of the tools for the implementation and development of a new model of the energy sector is digitization, which is a direct consequence of the increasing complexity of the energy system. Digitization is an essential element in the management of smart grids and smart meters and for controlling the entire energy system, as well as guaranteeing fair distribution. The digitization process integrates the state energy system; however, it also increases its vulnerability to potential cyber-threats. The aim of this paper is to analyze the cybersecurity challenges facing the Polish power sector in light of the energy transition policy promoted in the EU with a particular focus on the latest legislation presented in the Clean Energy Package. The Polish energy sector is on the verge of structural changes; therefore the main question is: How to implement them to avoid errors? The paper provides a glimpse into the most venerable areas, which should be taken into consideration by political decision-makers.
A. Kucharska, Cybersecurity challenges in Poland in the face of energy transition, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 141-159, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.8

Barichella, A., Cybersecurity in the Energy Sector. A Comparative Analysis between Europe and the United States, Études de l’Ifri, Paris: Ifri, February 2018.

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Local border traffic as a liberalization of the Schengen legal regime in the regional dimension with particular regard to the EU-Ukraine border

Views count: 188
Local border traffic has a legal basis in the Schengen acquis and is related to the EU’s free movement of persons, which, subject to certain conditions, is also available to third-country nationals. The subject of the article is the legal analysis of the Schengen regime in the context of cross-border cooperation with selected third countries on the external eastern border. The research thesis is proving that local border traffic is an exception to the Schengen regime and at the same time defines the regional dimension of the Schengen area. These analyses will be based on the practical context, which is the operation of the local border traffic on the example of the external eastern border of the European Union, particularly the EU-Ukraine border, which is also the external border of the EU and the Schengen area. In this context, the impact of the liberalized Schengen regime on the movement of people across the EU-Ukraine external border will be examined, which will indicate its phased nature with particular emphasis on the role of local border traffic as a transition phase between visa and visa-free traffic. The article uses comparative statistical data on both forms of liberalization of the Schengen legal regime on the border with Ukraine. At the same time, considering the local border traffic on the EU-Ukraine border, it is worth putting forward a thesis that the local border traffic is increasingly being replaced by visa-free travel. In addition, the LBT became the first step to introduce a visa-free regime, which is further liberalization of the Schengen regime.
A. Szachoń-Pszenny, Local border traffic as a liberalization of the Schengen legal regime in the regional dimension with particular regard to the EU-Ukraine border, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 161-176,
DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.9

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The far right ĽSNS in Slovakia and its reconstruction of the nation

Views count: 192
Societies around the globe have been witnessing the emergence of the radical right, often seen as the result of neoliberal globalization. Democratic governance, liberalism, human rights, and values are being questioned while populist, authoritarian, and ethnonationalist forms of governance are being offered. In the European Union, the tumultuous developments have been testing the viability of the identity marker of Europeanness and its perseverance in EU member states. What we are witnessing are significant shifts in the discourse about sameness and otherness, the convergence of left and right ideologies and the emergence of hybrid forms of authoritarianism and democracy that have been dubbed as illiberal democracy or authoritarian liberalism. The rise of the radical right and its mobilization across the EU member states is reflective of these processes, and it is the goal of this author to understand the mechanisms behind the empowerment, mobilization, and normalization of radical right through the case study of Slovakia. In particular, the effort of this paper is to understand how the far-right party Kotlebovci – Ľudová Strana Naše Slovensko (ĽSNS) in Slovakia re-conceptualized the notion of nation and normalized far-right ideology as a pretext of a broader mobilization.
N. Paulovicova, The far right ĽSNS in Slovakia and its reconstruction of the nation, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 177-197, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.10

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‘KKK anglická móda. Kotleba zrušil biznis’, Aktuality.sk, 22 March 2017, https://www.aktuality.sk/clanok/426280/kkk-anglicka-moda-kotleba-zrusil-biznis/.

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Baier, W., ‘Europe on the Precipice: The Crisis of the Neoliberal Order and the Ascent of Right-Wing Populism’, New Labor Forum, no. 3 (25), 2016, https://doi.org/10.1177/1095796016661155.

Bella, V., ‘Psychológ Masaryk: Matovič spravil sám seba zrozumiteľným, je dokonalým politikom instagramovej doby’, Denník N: Voľby 2020, 4 March 2020, https://dennikn.sk/1784165/psycholog-masaryk-matovic-spravil-sam-seba-zrozumitelnym-je-dokonalym-politikom-instagramovej-doby/?utm_ source=follow_tags&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mnt-tag.new.article-04.03.2020-16&utm_content=51343.

Benčík, J., ‘J. Kotleba, Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko 1488’, Denník N, 20.03.2017, https://dennikn.sk/blog/709155/kotleba-ludova-strana-nase-slovensko-1488/.

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Strategic interaction: The PRL Government, Solidarity, the Church, and the problem of political prisoners

Views count: 219
This study of the struggle between the government of the Polish People’s Republic and Solidarity in the years 1981-1984 discerns three key actors in Polish politics: the Communist party leadership and security apparatus, the arrested leaders of Solidarity, and the bishops and advisers of the Catholic Church. The PRL government made strategic decisions in this period regarding repression and liberalization. Following initial advanced preparation for the trial of eleven arrested leaders of Solidarity and KSS KOR, the government attempted to coerce the arrestees into leaving Poland, thus weakening the movement’s legitimacy. The article demonstrates how the interaction between the leaders of the two sides – mediated by bishops and advisers – produced a new dynamic and a shift in the existing political mechanism. What was once a mass movement transformed into a more regular, staffed organization with a greater role played by leaders, who symbolized the continuity of the movement and enabled Solidarity to weather the period of repression. The article shows the changes and tensions in the Solidarity movement, along with the changes that were occurring in parallel on the side of the government and the mediating third actor, i.e., the Catholic Church. This case study of the strategic clash that occurred at the beginning of the 1980s illustrates the transformations that took place within the government and Solidarity – transformations that would prove crucial to the transition process in 1988-1989.
A. Friszke, Strategic interaction: The PRL Government, Solidarity, the Church, and the problem of political prisoners, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 201-225, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.11

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Friszke, A., ‘Internowani, aresztowani, skazani. Pozbawieni wolności w okresie stanu wojennego 1981-1983/4’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, no. 2, 2017, https://doi.org/10.12775/kh.2017.124.2.03.

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Free airtime of election committees in Poland compared with similar solutions in other countries. The attitude of Poles to free election broadcasts in the Polish public media

Views count: 258
The principle of equal electoral opportunities is implemented, inter alia, by allocating free airtime to political entities. In Poland, like in many other countries, the authorized committees have the right to use the public media’s airtime free of charge during election campaigns. The present article’s objective is to show the Polish solutions in this domain compared with the regulations in other countries and to present the research results and their analysis concerning Poles’ attitude to free election broadcasts – including their assessment of the broadcasts as a source of knowledge about candidates and parties taking part in the election campaign. The studies were carried out based on the survey questionnaire, which was compiled using the five-level Likert scale. The sample was selected by the stratifiedquota method (N = 971). The conclusions resulting from the survey suggest the need to retain the regulation that enables political entities in Poland to use free election broadcasts during election campaigns. At the same time, they point out that it is necessary to seek more advantageous forms and content to put airtime to appropriate use during the campaign period.
A. Łukasik-Turecka, Free airtime of election committees in Poland compared with similar solutions in other countries. The attitude of Poles to free election broadcasts in the Polish public media, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 227-237, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.12

Fredro-Boniecki, T., ‘Kampanie wyborcze 2005 roku w mediach publicznych’, in: Media w wyborach. Kampanie wyborcze. Media w polityce, ed. T. Sasińska-Klas, Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, 2007.

Kolczyński, M., Strategie komunikowania politycznego, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, 2007.

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Public debt limit of the EU Member States and its impact on polish legal system – considerations in the context of public finance stability

Views count: 245
The author’s goal is to determine the consequences of implementing treaty solutions concerning public debt to the Polish Constitution and to define the differences between the methodology of counting public debt in the European Community and Polish legal order. The raised issues concern important problems from the substantive and practical point of view, therefore the study’s content is important for science and practice. The research methodology was based on the analysis of the EU and Poland’s normative solutions, opinions expressed in the international and national literature on the subject, and the case law of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. The paper applies mostly the dogmatic-analytic and legal-comparative method with reference to available statistical data on Poland’s public debt. The study allowed the author to gain an understanding of the significance of fiscal rules implemented at the EU level to ensure stability. Article 216(5) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland indicates that the treaty solutions regarding the reference value (public debt-to-GDP ratio) were reenacted. However, until this day, the EU and Poland’s debt measurement methods do not fully correspond. In order to counteract excessive debt incursion, a state is required to take not only efficient actions but also ones that are adequate and, to some extent, flexible. This is an expression of acceptance of the EU’s preventive assumptions. However, there is still no full correlation in the methodology of calculating public debt in the EU and the Republic of Poland.
W. Bożek, Public debt limit of the EU Member States and its impact on polish legal system – considerations in the context of public finance stability, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 239-255, DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.13

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