The Baltic Region

2013 Issue №2(16)

North-West Russia in the context of European integration

Abstract

Integration is one of the main consequences of globalization. Elements of microsystems are growing closer, which brings to the foreground problems of interaction and — in a longer perspective — those of close cooperation between different social systems. The article considers the case of North-West Russia, the only territory having a common border with the EU, in order to examine the issue of Russia using the geographical factor, which Otto von Bismarck called the most powerful and intrinsic factor in history. The significance of this factor increased after the Cold War. It was then when the independent Baltic  States became a platform for emergence and recognition of the Baltic Sea region. The author focuses on the social and cultural integrity of the region and considers the traditional Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea states as interrelated components of a single region, different from other European regions in terms of economic interests, as well as its natural and sociocultural landscape.  

Download an article

Electric energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and the role of Russia in it

Abstract

This article examines cooperation in the electric energy sector in the Baltic region. The author explores the existing undersea HVDC power exchange projects. It is emphasised that cooperation in the electric energy sector is concentrated largely in the EU member states despite earlier plans to establish the Baltic energy ring, which would also include Russia and Belarus. The author stresses that one of the most acute problems for the EU today is overcoming isolation of the energy systems of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) from that of the major part of the EU. This task has become especially relevant after the closing of the Ignalina NPP (Lithuania), which used to be the primary energy source for the three Baltic States. The article examines key projects of the construction of new international power transmission lines in the framework of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) and the prospects of the Visaginas NPP (Lithuania) in solving energy problems of the Baltic States.  The author analyses Russia’s role in the electric energy market and focuses on a possible increase of the country’s energy market share following the construction of the Baltic NPP and the export of generated electric energy to Poland, Lithuania, Germany, and Sweden. The author concludes that the prospects of Russia’s energy export to the Baltic Sea region will be determined not only by technological, economic and market factors, but rather by the general state of relations between Russia and the EU. Moreover, a lot depends on Lithuania’s decision on the construction of the Visaginas NPP, as well as the way the EU and the Baltic States solve the problem of energy supply in case the NPP project is terminated.

Download an article

The creation of a common EU energy market: a quiet revolution with far-reaching consequences

Abstract

The article explores important changes in the EU energy structure and legislation. The authors examine the main stages of the creation of a common energy market in the EU. They analyse recent actions taken by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the EU against its member states and energy monopolists who directly or indirectly breach the rules of competition in the energy sector. The authors come to the conclusion that liberalization of the European energy sector will eventually have serious theoretical and practical consequences for the EU, as well as third countries, including Russia.

Download an article

Cross-border cooperation between nongovernmental organisations in the Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships

Abstract

This article is devoted to the issues of cross-border cooperation carried out by agents resident in the Pomeranian and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships. Among such agents there are non-governmental organizations. This article aims to identify the role of NGOs in cross-border cooperation and the predominant fields of their cooperation, as well as to assess their activity in attracting funding from European budgets. The article widely applies the results of surveys of NGOs conducted by the author, compares the results of performance reports submitted by these organisations within international projects, and offers the data presented in relevant publications (Euroregion Baltic documents and Phare CBC reports, Interreg IIIA and, Interreg IIIB, NMF, and Polish-Swiss Cooperation reports, as well as the data of the Central Department of Statistics). The research covers the period from the late 90s to 2012. The article highlights the difficulties agents face in forging and implementing cross-border cooperation, resulting from the mismatching definitions of the tertiary sector in Poland’s neighbour states.

Download an article

The role of transit in the economy of Latvia

Abstract

Transit is an important issue in the history of world economy, including the economy of Latvia. Transit makes a significant contribution to the budget of many transit countries, one of which is the Republic of Latvia. These countries do not have significant natural resources and prefer to focus on logistics and infrastructure in order to facilitate the transit process. This article focuses on the role of transit in the economy of Latvia, whose unique geographical position makes the country an effective transport corridor (bridge) in both the west-east and north-south directions. The article presents the results of an opinion poll conducted at Latvian transit enterprises regarding their future development and offers an overview of the main seaports and the Rīga international airport. The author examines the issue of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization and its impact on the Latvian transit, the prolongation of EU sanctions against Belarus, and the use of Latvian transport infrastructure for  handling the non-military cargo traffic to/from Afghanistan. In conclusion, a forecast of possible transit development in Latvia is provided.

Download an article