The economic corridors and routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, 2019)
The new world order will redraw our maps. Previously peripheral territories will move to the center. The 21st century brought about the emergence of the multipolar world order, and the economic center of gravity has clearly and substantially shifted to the east. Central Europe offers many opportunities, and the region is no longer what it was a decade ago. It has been, and always will be, an important part of Europe, and the Visegrád Group has vested interest in a strong Europe. The main hubs of the evolving networks will reorganize the regions in terms of their significance. The New Silk Road reaches Europe through Central and Eastern European countries, therefore the region will become even more important in the future. While Europe still thinks in terms of an East–West division, Europe’s central part has turned into a North–South region. Central Europe is not only a historical and geographical entity, but also an economic, intellectual, and cultural one. The Central European identity could rise from its “dormant” state, and the countries of this area could identify with this new Eurasia. Central Europe, the meeting point of the East and the West, could become a gateway and economic and geopolitical force field of a new Eurasia. To enable Central and Eastern European countries to become a gateway for the currently evolving Eurasian continent, they must turn into an independent economic force field. The region’s response is to establish, besides the East–West division, a new Central and Eastern European “geoeconomic force field” based on North–South infrastructure corridors. This could be a key region for the new Eurasia. In the EU, the four major elements of the Central European economic and geopolitical force field are the Visegrád Group, the Three Seas Initiative (connecting the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic Sea, and the Black Sea), the Via Carpathia Highway (connecting Greece to Lithuania through Debrecen and Miskolc), and the New Amber Road Railway Corridor running along the western boundary of the region from the port of Koper, Slovenia, to the Baltic Sea. Related to this is Trieste, where Hungary rents a port. These routes run alongside Hungary’s western border. The 17 initiative between China and the Central and Eastern European countries organizes a coherent territorial unit between Piraeus and Rotterdam/Hamburg, flanked by the Via Carpathia Highway on the east, the New Amber Road on the west, and the New Silk Road on the east and southeast. The region its geographical location to rise in a geopolitical sense, and it will continue to play an increasingly important role in the period ahead.