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The Three Seas Initiative (3SI or TSI), known also as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea (BABS) Initiative or simply as the Three Seas (in Latin, Trimarium), is a forum of twelve states, in the European Union, running along a north–south axis from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic and Black Seas in Central and Eastern Europe.[2] The Initiative aims to create a regional dialogue on questions affecting the member states.

In 2016, representatives of those states (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) met for their first summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Statistics

The twelve Three Seas countries cover 29 per cent of the European Union’s territory (1,210,000 km2), are home to 25 per cent of the European Union's inhabitants (112 million), and produce 19 per cent of the EU's GDP (based on purchasing power parity).[3]

History

The Three Seas Initiative, which was influenced by the Polish interwar Intermarium concept, was launched in 2015 by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.[3]

First summit, Dubrovnik, 2016

The Initiative's first summit, held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on 25–26 August 2016, ended with a declaration of economic cooperation in energy and in transport and communications infrastructures.[2] Polish President Andrzej Duda called the initiative "a new concept to promote Europe's unity and cohesion... an idea of cooperation among 12 countries located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas, the three seas of Central Europe."[4]

Guests included Chinese Ministerial Assistant for Foreign Affairs Liu Haixing, who spoke about Three Seas Initiative interconnectedness with China's Belt and Road Initiative, and former US National Security Advisor General James L. Jones, who stressed the Three Seas Initiative's role in European development and security.[5][6]

Second summit, Warsaw, 2017

The Initiative's second summit was held 6–7 July 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. Guest attendees included US President Donald Trump.[7][8] The participating countries unanimously agreed to set up a Three Seas Business Forum.[9][10]

Third summit, Bucharest, 2018

The Initiative's third summit took place 17–18 September 2018 in Bucharest, Romania. Participants approved interconnection projects in three key areas: transport, energy, and digital.[11] Guest attendees included President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The first edition[clarification needed] of the Business Forum was organised. A 3SI Network of Chambers of Commerce was created, and a letter of intent was signed concerning establishment of a Three Seas Investment Fund.[12][13]

List of summits

Date Location Hosting leader Notes
1 2016
25–26 August
Croatia Dubrovnik, Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović [14][15]
2 2017
6–7 July
Poland Warsaw, Poland Andrzej Duda U.S. President Donald Trump attended.[16]
3 2018
17–18 September
Romania Bucharest, Romania Klaus Iohannis E.U. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry attended.[17]
4 2019
5–6 June
Slovenia Ljubljana, Slovenia Borut Pahor E.U. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry attended.[18][19]
5 2020
19 October[20]
Estonia Tallinn, Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid Virtual summit[21][22]
6 2021
8–9 July[23]
Bulgaria Sofia, Bulgaria Rumen Radev The Head of State of Greece attended.[24]

Projects

Donald Trump's visit to Poland, July 2017
2018 Three Seas summit in Bucharest

The initiative is closely related to two major infrastructure projects in the region:[25]

Other projects are the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, Via Baltica road, Rail Baltica and Amber Rail Freight Corridor[26] rail connections.[27] Another project is Rail-2-Sea, which aims to connect the Baltic Sea port of Gdańsk (Poland) with the Black Sea port of Constanța (Romania) through a 3,663 kilometres (2,276 miles) long railway line.[28][29]

Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF)

The initial two founding institutions from Poland and Romania have committed themselves to make payments totaling more than 500 million euros.[30] The Fund is open to other Three Seas countries, which may join it after obtaining appropriate permits. The Supervisory Board of the Fund consists of representatives of development banks from Poland, Romania, Latvia,[citation needed] and the Czech Republic.[31][32]

In 2019, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and Export–Import Bank of Romania[33] signed the founding act of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.[34] The fund is to focus on projects creating transport, energy and digital infrastructure in the Three Seas region. Private investors from pension funds, private investment funds, and other entities will also be invited to the fund. The aim is to raise up to EUR 3-5 billion.[30]

The fund will engage, on a commercial basis, in infrastructure projects with a total value of up to EUR 100 billion,[35][36] while the needs of the Three Seas region have been estimated at over EUR 570 billion.[37] Its goal is to activate other sources of financing, such as the resources of individual countries of the region or EU funds.

Prior to the 2020 Tallinn Summit, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged up to a billion dollars in financing for the Investment Fund.[38]

Perception

Czech Republic

The Three Seas Initiative was at the beginning perceived by local experts and diplomats in the Czech Republic rather negatively. It was seen as a Polish attempt to create its sphere of influence (similar to the historical perception of Intermarium). Further fears were related to a possibility of deepening the East-West division in the EU and exclusion of Germany. A long term Czech objection is that there should be no competing geopolitical project in the region that would weaken the EU. Some of those objections have been partially addressed lately also due to a good experience with cooperation on infrastructure projects in the Visegrad group.[39][verification needed]

Finland

The populist Finns Party has advocated for Finland to join the initiative.[40]

Croatia

Social-democratic Croatian President Zoran Milanović stated that the initiative is harmful for Croatia.[41]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". www.imf.org.
  2. ^ a b "Dubrovnik Forum adopts declaration called "The Three Seas Initiative"". EBL News. 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  3. ^ a b https://pie.net.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PIE-Three-Seas.pdf
  4. ^ "President of the Republic of Poland / News / Minister Szczerski: Three Seas initiative to boost European unity". Prezydent.pl. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  5. ^ "The Three Seas Initiative: Central and Eastern Europe takes charge of its own destiny | Visegrád Post". Visegradpost.com. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  6. ^ Ansley, Rachel. "Making the Three Seas Initiative a Priority for Trump". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  7. ^ "Trump trip to Poland forces 3 Seas summit change". Fox News. 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  8. ^ CNBC (2017-07-04). "FACTBOX-Three Seas Initiative summit in Warsaw". Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  9. ^ "President Rumen Radev in Warsaw: the Joint Projects and Investments of the Central and Eastern European Countries will Make the European Union Stronger". President.bg. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  10. ^ "2018 Summit – Three Seas Initiative". Three-seas.eu. Archived from the original on 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  11. ^ "The Three Seas Initiative-Priority Interconnection Projects" (PDF). Three-seas.eu. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  12. ^ "Press releases". Three Seas Initiative. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Croatian President at Third Three Seas Initiative Summit". Croatia Week. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Dubrovnik Forum adopts declaration called "The Three Seas Initiative"". EBL News. 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  15. ^ "The Three Seas Initiative: Central and Eastern Europe takes charge of its own destiny". Visegrád Post. 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  16. ^ "Read Donald Trump's Remarks at the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Poland". Time. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  17. ^ "Three Seas summit in Bucharest seeks backing from Western Europe | DW | 17.09.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  18. ^ "Pobuda Tri morja", Wikipedija, prosta enciklopedija (in Slovenian), 2019-06-05, retrieved 2019-06-05
  19. ^ "Czech and Croatian Presidents Advocate Stronger Central Europe". Total Croatia News. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Three Seas Summit and Business Forum". 3seas.eu.
  21. ^ "Foreign Minister Reinsalu: we are ready to host the Three Seas Initiative summit in Estonia | Ministry of Foreign Affairs". Vm.ee. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  22. ^ "2020 Three Seas Virtual Summit, Tallinn, Estonia". Three Seas Initiative. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Three Seas Summit and Business Forum". 3seas.eu.
  24. ^ https://3seas.eu/event/agenda
  25. ^ "Poland hopes to tap Trump's business acumen at regional summit". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  26. ^ "Amber Rail Freight Corridor". Rfc-amber.eu.
  27. ^ "From Warsaw to Bucharest - The Way Forward for the Three Seas Initiative". Viacarpatia.eu.
  28. ^ Mutler, Alison (12 October 2020). "Rail-2-Sea and Via Carpathia, the US-backed highway and rail links from the Baltic to the Black Sea". Universul.net.
  29. ^ Lewkowicz, Łukasz (2020). "The Three Seas Initiative as a new model of regional cooperation in Central Europe: A Polish perspective". UNISCI Journal. 18 (54): 177–194. doi:10.31439/UNISCI-101.
  30. ^ a b "Three Seas Initiative Summit urges EU to consider its goals". www.sloveniatimes.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  31. ^ "Three Seas Initiative Gets Investment Fund". www.total-croatia-news.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  32. ^ "The Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund officially established". media.bgk.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  33. ^ "Iohannis at the summit of the Three Seas Initiative :The US economic presence in the region is a true catalyst for co-operation". www.actmedia.eu. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  34. ^ "Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund established | Central Europe Energy Partners". www.ceep.be. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  35. ^ Editorial Staff (2018-08-21). "Polish Briefing: The Three Seas Fund will finance energy investments". BiznesAlert EN. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  36. ^ Patricolo, Claudia (2019-06-11). "Polish and Romanian banks establish Three Seas investment fund". Emerging Europe | News, Intelligence, Community. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  37. ^ "New fund to supplement EU infrastructure project financing | News". Institutional Real Estate, Inc. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  38. ^ "US commits $1 billion dollars to develop Central European infrastructure". February 15, 2020.
  39. ^ "Poláci odhalili projekt Trojmoří. Propojení Pobaltí s jihovýchodem EU přitahuje americké miliardy". Hospodářské noviny CS (in Czech). 2020-10-06. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  40. ^ "Finland to join the Three Seas Initiative (3SI)". 10 December 2019.
  41. ^ "Milanović protiv Inicijative triju mora: Nepotrebno i potencijalno štetno zbog mogućeg zamjeranja Berlinu i Moskvi". 19 October 2020.

External links