Analyzing The Mediterranean Corridor’s Provisionally Planned Extension To Lvov
The case can be made that the Mediterranean Corridor’s provisionally planned extension to Lvov is a pilot project that doesn’t presage the bloc’s intent to prepare for relocating the Ukrainian capital to there like Medvedev predicted on Twitter.
Deputy Chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev drew global attention to the Mediterranean Corridor’s provisionally planned extension to Lvov in his tweet on Monday, which speculated that this will presage the creation of a rump Ukraine with its capital in that western city. The EU reportedly agreed to finance this rail project up until that city instead of to Kiev, including through the construction of European-compataible gauge tracks, thus giving rise to rumors of their intent.
Medvedev wryly concluded his tweet by writing that “the point here is not that the tracks in the West and Malorossiya differ in width. It’s just that business is a lot more prescient than politicians”, but the argument can just as plausibly be made that business is also more averse to political risks. It might not be that they don’t expect Kiev to remain the capital of Ukraine, which former Pentagon official Stephen Bryen reported last month could be moved to Lvov, but that this expansion is simply a pilot project.
To explain, while that corridor would nevertheless complement Lvov’s political role in the abovementioned scenario, it could very well be that Brussels feels more comfortable seeing how quickly it could be built and how profitable it’ll be for everyone before committing to extending it to Kiev. After all, it’s already unprecedented enough that the EU reportedly reached a provisional agreement to finance this route’s extension into a non-member state, so it makes sense that they’d play it cautiously.
Ukraine is still a warzone too and a lot of the bombing that Russia has carried out against military targets over this time has been in the regions east of the erstwhile Austrian-Hungarian Empire’s former lands. Committing a massive amount of funds for building a railway closer towards the areas that have been directly affected by this ongoing conflict, especially the capital itself, could rightly be criticized by some European Parliamentarians as a reckless gamble that risks wasting resources on a “white elephant”.
Proceeding cautiously by approving a pilot project for extending this corridor to Lvov, however, could reduce resistance to this initiative and possibly prove its viability, some years after which it could then be extended to Kiev once the conflict inevitably ends. The intent is almost certainly not what Medvedev assessed it to be even if it ultimately serves that role in the scenario that Bryen reported since the North Sea-Baltic Corridor would have been prioritized over the Mediterranean one in that case.
This project connects the Low Countries with Germany, Poland, and the Baltics, and the summer 2022 proposal for extending it into Ukraine could have been approved instead if the bloc envisaged it playing the aforesaid role in a much smaller rump state than the one at present. As a case in point, Poland is already slyly taking control of Western Ukraine through economic means, and the return of German-backed Donald Tusk to the premiership could see Ukraine’s wealth siphoned to Berlin via Warsaw.
Poland just subordinated itself to German hegemony by agreeing to the partial implementation of the “miliary Schengen” for optimizing the movement of troops and equipment between those two and the Netherlands in what’ll be the first time since World War II that Germany has been able to do so. One-third of a year ago, Poland’s former government also accused Germany of cutting a deal with Ukraine behind its back, so the stage is set for Germany to expand its economic influence there.
Prior to the recent report about the EU’s provisional agreement to fund the Mediterranean Corridor’s extension to Lvov, one could have therefore predicted that they’d fund the North Sea-Baltic one’s instead, but that didn’t happen despite it making the most sense for the bloc’s de facto German leader. It’s unclear what accounts for this inexplicable decision, but it nevertheless serves as a powerful counterpoint to Medvedev’s assessment of the EU’s grand strategic intentions in this case.
Putting everything the together, the case can thus compellingly be made that the Mediterranean Corridor’s provisionally planned extension to Lvov is a pilot project that doesn’t presage the bloc’s intent to prepare for relocating the Ukrainian capital to there, even though this scenario could still transpire. Medvedev’s take wasn’t wrong per se since there’s a cogent logic behind what he wrote, but considering the facts that were shared in this piece, it appears to be more akin to wishful thinking than anything else.