The EU's Eastern Partnership policy is facing a number of challenges in staying on a sensible and sufficiently ambitious path towards bringing the countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus closer to Europe and helping them to strengthen their sovereignty and territorial integrity, which has long been challenged by the Russian Federation. The region remains a point of contest between the EU and Russia and is struggling with many serious social, economic and political problems. However, that should, however, not distract the EU from enhancing their cooperation with the willing in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.
Based on their greater ambition regarding the EU’s engagement in the region and to some degree also a level of frustration with lack of political will in the European Union today, some member states of the EU, including Poland, Czechia, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden, decided to voluntarily step up their efforts to work more closely with their neighbours in the east, including in the form of regional and ad hoc formats of cooperation. The V4+, the Lublin Triangle, the Bucharest Nine and the Central Five are the most prominent among them.
The mutual cooperation – primarily between Czechia and Poland as two important regional players – should be based on issues of common interest and a shared perception of the challenges, including primarily that from Russia. This is a case of historical memory as well as the situation in the wider Eastern neighbourhood, for which Poland and Czechia largely share a common vision based around the idea of closer Euro-Atlantic integration of the region into the Western rules-based order. For cooperation to be successful, however, finding the solution to bilateral problems and rapprochement between both countries should be treated by Czech and Polish governments as a key priority.
The paper looks into developments in the region of Eastern Europe and the role played by the EU, and particularly that of Czechia and Poland, and is then followed by an in-depth analysis of the roles of third parties, including Russia, China and Turkey and the reactions of both Poland and Czechia to them. The fifth section is dedicated to suggesting opportunities and future synergies in the Czech-Polish eastern policies. The final part of conclusions then summarises the commonalities and space for more efficient cooperation and synergies.
Authors of the paper: Adam Balcer, Pavel Havlíček