Three Seas Initiative
|1,218,975 km2 (470,649 sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
The Three Seas Initiative (3SI or TSI), known also as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea (BABS) Initiative or simply as the Three Seas (Latin: Trimarium, Polish: Trójmorze), 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. 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.
The twelve Three Seas countries cover 29 per cent of the European Union’s territory (1,210,000 km2), are home to 25 percent of the European Union's inhabitants (112 million), and produce 19 per cent of the EU's GDP (based on purchasing power parity).
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.
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. 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."
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.
The Initiative's second summit was held 6–7 July 2017 in Warsaw, Poland. Guest attendees included US President Donald Trump. The participating countries unanimously agreed to set up a Three Seas Business Forum.
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. 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.
|Dubrovnik, Croatia||Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović|||
|Warsaw, Poland||Andrzej Duda||U.S. President Donald Trump attended.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Tallinn, Estonia||Kersti Kaljulaid||Virtual summit|
|Sofia, Bulgaria||Rumen Radev||The Head of State of Greece attended.|
The initiative is closely related to two major infrastructure projects in the region:
Other projects are the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, Via Baltica road, Rail Baltica and Amber Rail Freight Corridor rail connections. 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.
The initial two founding institutions from Poland and Romania have committed themselves to make payments totaling more than 500 million euros. 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, and the Czech Republic.
In 2019, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and Export–Import Bank of Romania signed the founding act of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund. 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.
The fund will engage, on a commercial basis, in infrastructure projects with a total value of up to EUR 100 billion, while the needs of the Three Seas region have been estimated at over EUR 570 billion.
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.
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.[verification needed]
The populist Finns Party has advocated for Finland to join the initiative.
Social-democratic Croatian President Zoran Milanović stated that the initiative is harmful for Croatia.
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