Poland: Europe’s Economic Tiger.
There is a reason why Berlin and Brussels continuously attack Poland. Forget France, Poland is an emerging economic and political force in Europe. Deep down, Germany realizes Poland is rising to challenge its influence in Central-Eastern Europe.
– Over the last two decades, Poland experienced the most stable high growth in the EU, increasing the size of its economy by two and a half times and raising incomes.
Even more remarkable, this economic growth spurt was inclusive: jobs and wages increased, inequality across income groups and regions remained low, and poverty declined (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). Poland’s rapid ascent earned it the nickname “European Tiger,” in reference to similarly rapid ascents of the Asian Tiger economies.
* This is another reason why we believe Germany will try to meddle with the Three Seas Initiative while Brussels will seek to undermine it. They view the Three Seas Initiative as competition and some kind of attempt to divide the EU, especially with America’s strong support of Poland.
The Three Seas region is critical…even Germany has now sought “partner/observer” status after initially trying to undermine the effort. The USA is a strong ally of Poland and very supportive, and this has become worrisome for Germany, which is keen to maintain its influence in the region.
Considering Angela Merkel recently lost loyal allies in Poland (the party of Donald Tusk) and Austria (Christian Kern and the social democrats), Germany is alarmed over its shrinking influence in Central Europe.
This was quite apparent during the vote on Merkel’s UN Migration Compact, where eight of twelve (67%) Three Seas’ member states defied her wishes and rejected the pact.
** The Hungarian factor. Equipped with the most dynamic and influential leader of the Visegrad Group, Hungary presents another challenge. Poland is the leader of the Three Seas, but Viktor Orban is clearly the leader of Visegrad.
The two countries are also strong allies, which is why Brussels and others have targeted both for isolation in an attempt to divide the region. Without Poland and Hungary, Paris and Berlin would find the CEE region much easier to control.
*** Both Brussels and Moscow are very suspicious of the Three Seas Initiative and are not fans, especially with Poland as one of the two leaders (Croatia the other).
This issue is developing as the ‘behind-the-scenes’ strategic battles for influence in Europe shift to the Central-Eastern region. On another front, China is increasingly involved with Hungary and 16 other CEE states regarding economic issues and other types of infrastructure projects.
**** The Three Seas must continue to build and strengthen its base, while distinguishing between those who want to help it grow and those who seek to undermine their efforts. The goal is to engage the world while maintaining the independence to thwart any attempts – from either the East or West – to dominate the region again.
The Three Seas Initiative may be in its infancy but it is the future of Europe. For the Visegrad Group, this will only further increase its influence in Europe.