Events of recent decade have undoubtedly challenged traditional security order and infrastructure in Europe with the region of Eastern Europe being the most vulnerable to harsh selfish actions of individual states, who strive to expand their interests and ambitions at the expense of the others. Illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing Russo-Ukrainian unnamed war, tensed relations between NATO and Russia, suspension of US-RF Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the US and Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies, indefinite destiny of the US-RF START-III Treaty , – to name just a few developments that make the region of Eastern Europe ever more exposed to security threats in the coming decade.
The election of the 46th President of the United States of America Joseph Biden, his statements on the need to restore the leading role of the United States in global processes, as well as his first foreign policy initiatives to return to the synergy of multilateral diplomacy and powerful TransAtlantic cooperation, raise hopes for closer US-EU cooperation on strengthening the security of the European continent. The appointment to key positions in the US State Department of experienced diplomats, who worked in the team of the 44th US President Barack Obama and are known as resolute critics of the aggressive policy of the Russian Federation, establishes certain predictability of the future in US-Russian relations under Biden administration, with no significant “thaw” or constructive breakout.
Britain’s departure from the EU and formation of a new foreign policy strategy to restore its role as a major independent player in the international arena (the concept of Global Britain) suggest that in 2021 the United Kingdom will seek to play a more active role in the security processes in Europe, both within NATO and by intensifying bilateral relations with the European countries.
Meanwhile, against the background of the crisis of multilateral diplomacy, which reached its high in 2020, Russia continues its offensive foreign policy aiming to undermine democratic foundations and statecraft of Western countries. It is becoming increasingly noticeable that Russia has started to apply some of hybrid warfare tools, which it had tested in Ukraine, in its foreign policy towards European countries; foremost, aiming at those, who at a certain period of the historical past belonged to the so-called “Socialist Camp”. With a view to the forthcoming parliamentary elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in September 2021, it is expected that the Russian political leadership will try to resort to a series of “quick-wins” in its foreign policy in order to consolidate the electorate’s support to the ruling political elite.
Under the given circumstances, it becomes clear that each of these countries – the United States, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation – will try to play their own geopolitical games on the European continent in 2021. The Europe itself (and the EU, as its major gravity center) will be living through a semi-transformation stage, since the Franco-German locomotive will be moving rather by inertia, than on an accelerated speed: (1) 16-year era of the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming to an end, and Germany will receive a new chancellor only in September 2021; (2) from the second half of 2021 France will be gradually entering the presidential race, and the incumbent President Emanuel Macron will reasonably become more sensitive to the mood of the electorate, which is more concerned with “internal” issues than France’s geopolitical role in the EU.
To what extent will the foreign policies of the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia shape the security environment for Eastern European countries in 2021? What are the main risks and opportunities? How should other players from the European countries act and re-act in security configuration that is being formed? These issues will become the focus of our discussion at the EESI International Roundtable on January 28, 2021.
Distinguished public officials and experts from the United States, Great Britain, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia will focus on the following:
The event will be conducted in English.
The discussion will be moderated by the EESI Executive Director IULIIA OSMOLOVSKA.
The full version of the results of the event is given below.