Europe, Winston Churchill said shortly before the First World War, ‘is where the weather comes from’. Even if that is not quite so true today, the ‘old continent’ still has the capacity to surprise and shock us, most recently with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Moreover, just as in the past, what happens in Europe does not stay in Europe: the global ripples of the Ukraine War with regard to inflation, food shortages and energy price rises, are a testament to that. So understanding Europe remains critically important in our time as well.

Our starting point is that Europe has always been shaped by an order – or orders. Historically, most of these have been internal to the continent, though over the past one hundred years external powers have become more prominent. Today, we once again find ourselves in the force field of competing orders: the European Union, Brexited Britain, the USA in the aftermath of Trump, or Putin’s Russia. Many of these actors are themselves internally conflicted about their place in the world and their attitude toward Europe.

The European Strand offers research programmes dealing with the whole of the continent, paying particular attention to the United Kingdom’s ordering role, past and present, as well as the interaction between ‘Europe’ and the UK constitution as an incorporating Union of Four Nations. In this context, the flagship Baltic Geopolitics Programme (launched in January 2020) investigates the enduring role that the UK has played in this vital geopolitical space. It is led by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke and Centre Director Brendan Simms, and has one Research Fellow, Dr Donatas Kupciunas of Wolfson College, with another post about to be filled. The UK Union Programme, under the leadership of Research Fellow Dr Hugo Bromley (Robinson College) has begun to explore the ways in which the Union emerged as a geopolitical and political economy project, and the challenges it faces today.

Our first priority for the future is to secure funding for a permanent lectureship or chair in Baltic Geopolitics, in order to provide supervision at graduate level in that area. Equally important is getting the Union project underway through the establishment of a five-year research project. We also plan to develop programmes on Britain and the Mediterranean and Britain and the North Sea and North Atlantic, both areas of great importance past and present.

People

Professor Brendan Simms

Professor Brendan Simms

Centre Director & Strand Leader

Europe & Middle East Strands

Rt Hon Charles Clarke

Rt Hon Charles Clarke

Joint Programme Leader

Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Dr Hugo Bromley

Dr Hugo Bromley

Post-doctoral Research Associate

UK Union Programme

Dr Donatas Kupciunas

Dr Donatas Kupciunas

Baltic Fellow

Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Trevelyan Wing

Trevelyan Wing

Baltic Fellow

Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Dr Timothy Less

Dr Timothy Less

Convener

Geopolitical Risk Study Group

Sarah Squire

Sarah Squire

Summer School Advisor

Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Samuel Abraham

Samuel Abraham

Research Assistant

Middle East Strand, Military History Working Group, Cambridge Intelligence Seminar

Juliette Bretan

Juliette Bretan

Research Assistant

Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Patrick McAlary

Patrick McAlary

Research Assistant

UK Union Programme

Elvira Tamus

Elvira Tamus

Research Assistant

Baltic Geopolitics Programme, Europe & Global Strands

Dr Lisa Vickers

Dr Lisa Vickers

Research Assistant

Global & Europe Strands

Jack Liddall

Jack Liddall

PhD Student

UK Union Programme

Latest

Diplomacy, Security

Global Germany

Monday 10th June, 2024

Global Germany

Grand Strategy

Is the UK capable of grand strategy? with William James

Event Review

The Geopolitics of Eurovision

Tuesday 14th May, 2024

The Geopolitics of Eurovision

Culture, History

The geopolitics of Eurovision

Saturday 11th May, 2024

The geopolitics of Eurovision

In the press

Royaume-Uni : des élections catastrophiques pour les conservateurs

Sunday 5th May, 2024

Royaume-Uni : des élections catastrophiques pour les conservateurs

Centre for Geopolitics co-director Prof. William Hurst contributes to this analysis of local election results and their implications for an upcoming General Election.

Expert Analysis

An update on the neighbourhood: April in the Caucasus

In the press

After Nord Stream: Safeguarding Baltic energy security and supply

Thursday 25th April, 2024

After Nord Stream: Safeguarding Baltic energy security and supply

Energy and telecoms link vulnerability through the Baltic Region are discussed her by Trevelyan Wing, research fellow on our Baltic Geopolitics Programme.

History

Five hundred years of English and British violence in Europe

In the press

Why Germany ditched nuclear before coal – and why it won’t go back

Tuesday 23rd April, 2024

Why Germany ditched nuclear before coal – and why it won’t go back

Centre for Geopolitics Research Associate, Trevelyan Wing, analyses the controversy over Germany’s decision to turn its back on nuclear energy.

Event Review

NATO at 75: Assessing the alliance’s past, present, and future

Diplomacy, Military, Security

NATO at 75: Assessing the alliance’s past, present, and future

Diplomacy, Military, Security

Why Sweden joined NATO, with the Swedish Foreign Minister

In the press

Latvian book receives award at Cambridge symposium on Ukraine and the Baltics

Saturday 6th April, 2024

Latvian book receives award at Cambridge symposium on Ukraine and the Baltics

Latvian television reports from the 2024 International Baltic Symposium at the Centre for Geopolitics.

In the press

Russia’s war on Ukraine forces Europe to weaponise its economic might

Friday 5th April, 2024

Russia’s war on Ukraine forces Europe to weaponise its economic might

An Al Jazeera article about the origins and implications of the Ukraine War, using quotes and analysis discussed at our 2024 International Baltic Symposium in Cambridge.

Diplomacy, Security, War

2014 revolution in Ukraine and the Baltic

In the press

Ukraine debates mobilising more men to fight Russia after two years of war

Monday 18th March, 2024

Ukraine debates mobilising more men to fight Russia after two years of war

The head of our geopolitical risk analysis study group, Dr. Timothy Less, has given the lead opinion in this Al Jazeera article on troop mobilisation in Ukraine and Russia.

Event Review

Geopolitics of memory in contemporary German-Polish relations

Diplomacy, History, World War II

Geopolitics of memory in contemporary German-Polish relations

In the press

Ukraine’s strategic goal in 2024 is to make Russia’s war felt in Moscow

Friday 1st March, 2024

Ukraine’s strategic goal in 2024 is to make Russia’s war felt in Moscow

Suzanne Raine is one of several experts offering their opinions on the prospects for the Russia Ukraine war in 2024.

Announcement

Winter Is Coming – Finland, the Baltic and European Security

In the press

Varadkar denies Ireland is reliant on UK military for security at Munich conference

Saturday 17th February, 2024

Varadkar denies Ireland is reliant on UK military for security at Munich conference

Centre director Prof. Brendan Simms is quoted in The Journal after asking a question of the Irish Taoiseach at the Munich Security Council about Ireland being dependent on the UK for land and seabed security.

Announcement

Call for Applications! Baltic Geopolitics Summer School 2024

Economics, War

Pat Cox on the war in Ukraine and the future of the EU

Diplomacy, Economics

The first 1000 days of Brexit seen from Margaret Thatcher’s window in Westminster

In the press

Charles Clarke: Challenges to face

Wednesday 10th January, 2024

Charles Clarke: Challenges to face

The Russian attack on Ukraine 10 years ago was a turning point in post-World War 2 European history and geopolitics.

Announcement

Baltic Geopolitics Network Publication Prize 2024

Podcast

Episode 41: Can Ukraine win?

Wednesday 20th December, 2023

Episode 41: Can Ukraine win?

Professor Phillips O’Brien joins Suzanne and Ali to discuss why enabling Ukraine to win is in the US’s strategic interest, and why limited assistance not only protracts the conflict but raises the risk of wider long-term instability in Europe.

War

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Karabakh: What comes next?

Event Review

Seminar on contested maritime space

Thursday 16th November, 2023

Seminar on contested maritime space

Economics, Security

The importance of UK-Baltic ties in meeting current geopolitical challenges in Europe

Authoritarianism

Understanding Putin’s Russia

Wednesday 1st November, 2023

Understanding Putin’s Russia

World War II

The Forest Brotherhood: Baltic Resistance against the Nazis and Soviets

Security

Denmark and Baltic security: past and present

Wednesday 11th October, 2023

Denmark and Baltic security: past and present

History, Risk, Security

Book Talk: The Baltic States and Baltic Security in a Historical Context

In the press

The new shadow of the bomb

Sunday 30th July, 2023

The new shadow of the bomb

Charles Clarke writes on Nuclear Risk Reduction in the Baltic Region in The New European online after the Centre for Geopolitics webinar on the same subject.

In the press

Strawberry buns at The End of the World Café: thoughts on the Polish-Russian border

Tuesday 25th July, 2023

Strawberry buns at The End of the World Café: thoughts on the Polish-Russian border

Juliette Bretan writes about her takeaways from the Baltic Summer School 2023.

Security

Neutrality and the Baltic: History and future

Risk, Security

Nuclear risk reduction in the Baltic Sea region

Event Review

Baltic Summer School 2023

Monday 17th July, 2023

Baltic Summer School 2023

Peace building

The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement: 25 years on

Event Review

Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland: A Life in Geopolitics

History, Military

Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland: A life in Geopolitics

Peace building

What is solidarity? Reconstructing the meanings of the modern idea

Diplomacy, Economics

Germany and Ukraine, with Benedikt Franke

History, Military

The annexation of the Klaipeda (Memel) region to Lithuania, 1923…

Thursday 25th May, 2023 - Saturday 27th May, 2023

The annexation of the Klaipeda (Memel) region to Lithuania, 1923…

In the press

Article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Sunday 21st May, 2023

Article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Professor Brendan Simms and the Centre for Geopolitics referred to in an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Event Review

Should the West fear a Russian defeat in Ukraine?

In the press

Guns before butter? Multi-dimensional diplomacy in China-Europe relations

Wednesday 17th May, 2023

Guns before butter? Multi-dimensional diplomacy in China-Europe relations

9DASHLINE publishes Guns before butter? Multi-dimensional diplomacy in China-Europe relations by Professor William Hurst.

War

Should the West fear a Russian defeat in Ukraine?

Podcast

Episode 30: The geopolitics of the UK Union

Thursday 11th May, 2023

Episode 30: The geopolitics of the UK Union

Ali and Suzanne are joined by the Centre’s Dr Hugo Bromley to consider the historical drivers behind the formation of the UK Union and their relevance today.  

In the press

Nord Stream: Russia has mined European undersea pipelines and cables, NATO fears

Thursday 4th May, 2023

Nord Stream: Russia has mined European undersea pipelines and cables, NATO fears

The Centre is mentioned by Air Vice-Marshal Mike Hart in ‘Nord Stream: Russia has mined European undersea pipelines and cables, NATO fears’ for The Times.

Borders

Witness to the Union: Lord Jack McConnell

Borders, Peace building

Witness to the Union: Baroness Arlene Foster

Security

The Baltic Geopolitics Programme Symposium 2023

Call for applications: Gdansk Summer School 2023

Podcast

Episode 26: The State of Europe

Wednesday 15th March, 2023

Episode 26: The State of Europe

Professor Brendan Simms gives Ali and Suzanne his impressions of the key themes from this year’s Munich Security Conference and what this means for European security and Russia’s war in Ukraine.  

Security

Ukraine and the Baltic: the past, the present and the future

Diplomacy, Economics, History

Britain and the Central Mediterranean, with former Prime Minister of Malta, Lawrence Gonzi

Economics, Environment, Security

Energy Security in the Baltic and Northern Europe

Diplomacy

Where will Germany be in ten years? with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

Book

Understanding the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 1991 – edited by Charles Clarke (Hurst, 2023)

Friday 10th February, 2023

Understanding the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 1991 – edited by Charles Clarke (Hurst, 2023)

A comprehensive account of the history, politics and growing strategic significance of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since independence in 1991.

History, World War II

A world in crisis, December 1941, and what it means today

History, Intelligence, World War II

Why the history of intelligence matters today, with Chris Andrew

Commentary

Judgement on the Union

Wednesday 25th January, 2023

Judgement on the Union

Announcement

Energy Security in the Baltic and Northern Europe

Event Review

The Baltics and Germany: Joint Roundtable with the Körber Stiftung

Diplomacy, History

The geopolitics of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Security

Security and vulnerability of NATO’s Northern flank

World War II

Unanticipated outcomes of the British blockade

History, War

Who were the Baltic Germans and what is their legacy?

Diplomacy, Peace building

Future of the Northern Ireland Protocol panel

Culture, History

Scotland and the Baltic from the early modern period to the present day

Borders, World War II

Baltic Geopolitics Graduate Seminar – Michaelmas term

Elections

Changing international alignments in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland

Event Review

Security balance in the Baltic

Thursday 27th October, 2022

Security balance in the Baltic

Announcement

Centre for Geopolitics at the Warsaw Security Forum 4-5 October

Borders, Elections

Keir Starmer: Irish unity’s nemesis? with Sam McBride

Military, Security

The security balance in the Baltic?

Tuesday 11th October, 2022

The security balance in the Baltic?

In the press

Charles III — why not make him King-Emperor of Europe?

Monday 3rd October, 2022

Charles III — why not make him King-Emperor of Europe?

Professor Brendon Simms contributes Charles III — why not make him King-Emperor of Europe? to Engelsberg Ideas.

Borders

The geopolitics of Kaliningrad

Tuesday 20th September, 2022

The geopolitics of Kaliningrad

Commentary

The Baltic team goes on the road

Monday 22nd August, 2022

The Baltic team goes on the road

In the press

Professor Brendan Simms asks What is England really made of?

Friday 12th August, 2022

Professor Brendan Simms asks What is England really made of?

Professor Brendan Simms asks What is England really made of? in Engelsberg Ideas.

Event Review

First Baltic Summer School launches in Vilnius

Announcement

Centre for Geopolitics delegation visits Helsinki and Tallinn

War

The Visegrád Four and the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Event Review

The future of neutrality in a changing geopolitical context

Commentary

The future of neutrality in Europe

Thursday 26th May, 2022

The future of neutrality in Europe

Elections

The Northern Ireland Assembly elections – What happens now?

Diplomacy, Security

Does Germany need to learn geopolitics?

History

Britain and Finland

Tuesday 3rd May, 2022

Britain and Finland

Security, War

Ukraine Teach-In, at the Cambridge Union

Saturday 30th April, 2022

Ukraine Teach-In, at the Cambridge Union

Economics, History

Britain and the Great Divergence

Tuesday 26th April, 2022

Britain and the Great Divergence

Commentary

Consequences for the Orthodox who reject the Russkii Mir

Announcement

Expansion of the Baltic Geopolitics Network

Commentary

Is it the end of the road for Stormont?

Wednesday 30th March, 2022

Is it the end of the road for Stormont?

War

The War in Ukraine

Friday 18th March, 2022

The War in Ukraine

War

EMERGENCY EVENT: The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Commentary

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Sunday 27th February, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Diplomacy, Security

Baltic Geopolitics Graduate Seminar – Lent term

Event Review

External influences in the Baltic state-building after the Great War

Military

Military deployments by Baltic Sea countries

Thursday 3rd February, 2022

Military deployments by Baltic Sea countries

Commentary

Baltic Network Member Profile – Dr Ieva Birka

Commentary

Talking Baltics: Interview with Ross Allen

Wednesday 22nd September, 2021

Talking Baltics: Interview with Ross Allen

Event Review

Halford Mackinder and Serbia. Then and Now.

Commentary

A tale of two Unions

Tuesday 13th July, 2021

A tale of two Unions

Commentary

Talking Baltics – Interview with Kadri Liik

Event Review

Global Britain and the Europe Union

Thursday 13th May, 2021

Global Britain and the Europe Union

Commentary

Talking Baltics – Interview with Ian Bond

In the press

Why Britain matters in Europe – by Charles Clarke and Brendan Simms (New Statesman)

Wednesday 10th February, 2021

Why Britain matters in Europe – by Charles Clarke and Brendan Simms (New Statesman)

Our strategic alliance with the Baltic states has survived centuries of upheaval. Now the mission is to contain the Russians and keep China out.

Diplomacy

100 Years of Diplomatic Relations: Estonia and the United Kingdom

Event Review

Baltic Programme Launch

Monday 25th January, 2021

Baltic Programme Launch

In the press

Half of the National Risk Register is missing

Friday 22nd January, 2021

Half of the National Risk Register is missing

Suzanne Raine explains how Half of the National Risk Register is Missing on RUSI.org.

Announcement

University of Cambridge launches Baltic Geopolitics Programme