The Pallas Athene Geopolitical and Innovation Research Institute (PAIGEO) organised a debate on Tuesday entitled “Bridgehead or buffer zone? Central Eastern Europe’s 21st century role between Europe and Asia”, Hungarian news site Alfahir.hu reports (the complete article can be found in English here).
Geopolitical analyst and expert of the Hungarian National Trading House, Agnes Bernek and Norbert Laszlo Arok, researcher of the Szazadveg Foundation argued in favour of the region’s bridgehead role, while Peter Talas, head of the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies at the National University of Public Service, and Tamas Levente Molnar, researcher of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade considers our region a buffer zone.
According to Bernek, it’s a crucial question whether we can create a North-South field of force, and whether we can further enlarge the Visegrad Cooperation (V4). Arok added that the region is attractive, the potential of economic growth is good, there are stable democracies with functioning rule of law, and the EU membership is another stabilising force that creates the security of investment.
Talas argued that the region is united only on the surface. He acknowledged that V4 is indeed an international brand, but if we check the reality behind, we can only say that “the PR people are working well”. On the whole, we are struggling with each other for investments in the region, he stated.
According to Talas, it’s possible to aim for the bridgehead role, but this is not the primary task of the region, not to mention that we live in a world where bridges are not necessary any more and the conflicts of the great powers strengthen the buffer zones.
Molnar said that great powers don’t need bridges anymore, so it’s important for our region to have a much stronger political coordination in the V4, more attention should be paid to the Three Seas Initiative and energy diversification, Eastern Partnership should be strengthened, and the Western Balkans should be integrated in the EU as soon as possible.