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Portrait of a necessary Ponto-Baltic alliance: Polish commercial road projects towards the Balkans and the Black Sea, 1919 – 1926

Author(s): Florin Anghel

Journal: Revista Româna de Studii Baltice si Nordice
ISSN 2067-1725

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 175;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Baltic Sea | Black Sea | commercial roads | strategic axis | infrastructure | trade | common interests

The economic expression of the Romanian-Polish military and political alliance undoubtedly had to be represented by the rebirth of the Baltic-Pontic commercial road, as the flow of products coming into and towards the Polish space had been artificially directed, during the 19th century, as a result of understandable political and economic interests, towards the North and the Adriatic Seas, instead of the Baltic and Black Seas. A Polish commercial road towards the Balkans obviously comprised economic, financial and strategic components. One of them referred to building an alternative to the continental routes dominated by Germany (Rhine, Main, Danube); the aim was chiefly to break a dangerous monopoly in the region of Central Europe and the Baltic area. Foreign commerce on the two relations did not enjoy, in any period between the two world wars, a spectacular evolution and never reached an important point. The arguments are based on strictly economic and financial elements: 1. Romania and Poland produced largely the same type of merchandise: there were basically similar raw materials (cereal, coal, oil), the products had a very low degree of processing, and one could earn more and more assuredly with the export type-products on traditional markets (mainly Western Europe); 2. Even if there was a great interest in a partner or a product on the other market, the transport thereof took a very long time. Between Warsaw and Bucharest there was a simple, inefficient and unsafe railroad; there was no preoccupation in the ’20s for the revamping or modernizing of the transport and service infrastructure (telephone, telegraph, post) between the two states; 3. Last, but not least, although the two states had a great number of inhabitants – and, thus, an extremely important potential for buying and consumption – the potential was strongly handicapped by the standard of living. The scanty Polish projects and investments on the Baltic – Black Sea axis have completed – and have not influenced – the general frame of Romanian – Polish relations, essentially based on political, diplomatic and military interests.
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