August 13, 2015

New Old Project

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

 

The President of Poland Andrzej DudaBefore his inauguration, the President of Poland Andrzej Duda, among other things, mentioned the prospect of creation of the Baltic-Black Sea Union, the basis of which could be formed by Poland and Ukraine. Of course, such a disposition of the new President of Poland — a member of the European Union — can only be welcomed.

 

Just to be fair, it should be recalled that the idea of the “Baltic-Black Sea Belt” (in other sources “Baltic-Black Sea Axis”) itself emerged in V. Lipinskyi's environment in the times of the UPR. During today's independence, first this idea was developed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the initiative of the then First Deputy Minister Anton Buteyko (in the 1990s, to be more exact). It failed to get implement in the international dimension, in particular because it was impossible to persuade the then Head of our state.

The Krakow Energy Summit in May 2007For the second time in the time of independence, already in the international context, the specific project of formation of the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian energy transit space spoke the then President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko at the Krakow Energy Summit May 11, 2007. Previously, he had outlined the idea at the meeting of the Presidents of Ukraine and Poland in April 2007 in Cardiff-City, during the competition for the right to host the football championship “Euro-2012”, that is — in a year. Although the next Energy Summit took place in October 2007 in Vilnius.

Besides, already in Krakow Presidents of Ukraine and Poland agreed to develop that idea, and to inform on international agreements at the Kyiv Energy Summit in May 2008. At this, Yushchenko delicately hinted: “... First we need to convince those interested, after we have got concrete results — we will then inform the public, especially the media”. It turns out that this (underestimation of PR) was one of the principles of V. Yushchenko — “first do and then speak”, due to which he, unfortunately, later paid with his post of the President of Ukraine. Already during the Krakow Summit and later the idea of the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic Energy Transit Space was wholeheartedly supported by the late Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

International negotiations began. There were 30 talks within one year! It is necessary to pay tribute to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, in particular, the then Deputy Minister A. Kupchyshyn for paying the necessary attention. First, “the idea was perceived with hostility by the European Commission”.

The Kyiv Energy Summit in May 2008To the Kyiv Energy Summit in May 2008, Ukraine came up, with strong support for the project of a whole group of countries interested, including Poland, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Lithuania. On the part of the EC there were no objections either. Besides, at the last moment this project made interested the leadership of Romania.

At the request of a group of countries, a new name for the project was agreed upon, namely: the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic Energy Transit Space (CBBS). There had been worked out and formed provisions for the relevant structures of the CBBS. In particular, they spoke about quite significant economic benefits for the member countries of the association, not to mention these countries' actual getting rid of Russia's influence and energy dependence on it. Unfortunately, however, in particular because of the activity of the “fifth column” (supported by the Russian side) in the countries concerned, the project was suspended.

The Euro-Asian Oil transportation Corridor (EAOTС)

So, today we see that the new President of Poland A. Duda (who was at least a friend of Kaczynski's) is going to seriously implement the idea of the Baltic-Black Sea Belt. In this way the official Warsaw shows the world the sequence of its steps. Of course, it is positive for the world, Europe and the “Polish arrogance”. And we should absolutely normally perceive the fact that the “palm of victory” in this matter belongs not to us, but to Poland. Maybe it's for the best. After all, Poland is a Member State of the EU.

Let's hope that the official Kyiv duly takes part in filling the Baltic-Black Sea Belt (BBB) with specific content. In particular, with regard to the practical developments within the framework of the Caspian-Black Sea-Baltic Energy Transit Space. Thus, Ukraine may apply for full co-authorship in the BBB.

It is understood that the project of BBB should be updated. Since now, after seven years, many things have changed, there are new realities. But the wisdom is, first of all, in not to let old best ideas and practices get hopelessly lost. Exactly what the new Polish President is demonstrating to the whole Europe.