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Central-Eastern Europe in Post-COVID-19 International Politics

Abstract

The article is based on the hypothesis about the transition of the development of international processes from the stage of uncertainty to the stage of the negative certainty – the increase and synergy of the impact of negative factors in the environmental, climatic, epidemiological, socio-economic, technological, and security spheres against the background of worsening geopolitical contradictions and confirmed by the crisis caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The article examines the dynamics of socio-economic and political development and the changing role of the Central-Eastern European region. Having strengthened their positions in the European Union through adaptation to EU policies and norms, by the mid-2010s the CEE countries began to pursue an increasingly independent course. By 2020 their policy became one of the factors hindering the further deepening of the EU integration, primarily in the foreign policy sphere, and the process of federalization of the Union. The analysis of the state of public opinion conducted in the article testifies to the dualism of the perception of citizens of the CEE countries of the EU membership. High support for the EU is combined with frustration at the partial loss of national sovereignty, which is actively used by nationalist political forces in the region. During the early months of COVID-19 pandemics the countries of the region performed better than the EU as a whole, which created prerequisites for reformatting the position of the CEE countries in the EU. The enormous resources provided by the EU to Central-Eastern Europe to overcome the crisis and move towards sustainable development serve as a tool for even deeper economic and political integration of the CEE into the EU. Conditionality of support for the implementation of the EU strategies could have an impact on the CEE countries that is very similar to the period of their accession to the integration grouping and lead to the next stage of desovereignization. Meanwhile, for the European Union closer binding of the CEE countries allows not only to take another step towards federalization, but also to strengthen its actorness in world politics and the global economy.

Keywords:

Central-Eastern Europe; European Union; COVID-19; negative certainty; sovereignty; integration; nationalization; consolidation; fragmentation; balance.


Authors: Irina Kobrinskaya, Boris Frumkin

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