What is the Three Seas Initiative?

The Three Seas Initiative is an informal Presidential platform which provides for strong and sustained political support to foster a more effective cooperation of governments, business entities and non-governmental organizations interested in boosting regional cooperation, encompassing 12 EU Member States in the region between the Adriatic, Baltic and the Black Seas.

It is a development needs-driven Initiative that seeks to maximize the strong points that this overarching area is equipped with in order to further modernize and to increase the competitiveness of the states contributing to it.

Why does the EU/the region need this Initiative?

It responds to the commonality of interests of the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe for more rapid development, in particular as regards infrastructure, in order to reach the expected levels of real convergence with the rest of the EU. It is focused on three main fields - transport, energy, digital (without excluding other areas of interest).

The Initiative seeks to propagate a virtuous circle of regional interconnectivity as a part and a concrete contribution to the process of European integration.

The improvement of the regional infrastructure is an essential condition for building an area of stability and prosperity, as an important part of the EU Internal Market. The infrastructure connecting the Three Seas would benefit us all, both participating states and the EU as a whole and could make the region a hub for the entire EU market.

In maintaining the unity and cohesion of the EU one needs to develop synergies and protect the culture of dialogue, avoiding artificial East-West divides. Therefore, this initiative is intended to contribute to the effort of finding more unity and common objectives within the EU.

The Initiative should not evolve as an EU macro-region, while, indeed, the support of the EU remains essential. It is needed in order to bring to life the interconnectivity projects that are critical for the region, by putting to good use existing EU mechanisms.

How does the Initiative relate to other actors and to other formats of regional dialogue?

For the Summit, Romania aimed to attract the interest, support and participation of other important partners such as EU institutions, as the Initiative aims to promote European cohesion and to further stimulate European integration.

At the same time, US involvement is important and relevant. The support expressed by President Donald Trump during the Warsaw Summit, both as regards the Three Seas Initiative and the strategic role of regional interconnectivity in general, is to be welcomed. The US economic presence in the region alongside the security dimension provides a catalyst for strengthened cooperation, among the states of the region and as part of the Transatlantic Partnership in general. The Initiative is thus a regional European contribution to strengthening the transatlantic link.

There is a necessity to keep the door open to the cooperation with interested non-EU partners from the extended area, such as the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighborhood.

This Initiative is not directed against anyone. From this perspective, the potential support of stakeholders outside the region, including European and International Financial Institutions, is welcome.

What is the main difference between the Three Seas Initiative and the Bucharest Format (B9)?

The Three Seas Initiative is different from The Bucharest Format - B9, while complementing it. B9 is driven by a security agenda, shaped by the security challenges confronting NATO’s Eastern Flank, whereas The Three Seas Initiative is geared towards economic growth, interconnections and development. The two initiatives should therefore be granted equal attention on their separate but complementary tracks.

What would the added value of the 2018 Summit be?

Following the high level preparatory meeting in New York in 2015, kick-off 2016 Summit in Dubrovnik and the successful 2017 Summit in Warsaw, it is now important to focus on deliverables which will also enhance the value-added of the Initiative.

Concrete regional interconnectivity projects need to be developed in the Three Seas area with a special focus on transport, energy and digital infrastructures on the North-South and East-West axis in the Three Seas Initiative region. A limited numbers of flagship projects, fully in line with EU policies, for each of the three fields will be identified, based on the biggest potential of contributing to the goals of the Three Seas Initiative and the highest degree of feasibility. The Summit could endorse this list and commit members to work for its implementation. The Declaration which will be adopted at the 2018 Summit should focus on highlighting both continued political will and such concrete projects, results and other deliverables.

The 2018 Summit should also acknowledge the necessity to keep the door open to the cooperation with interested non-EU partners from the extended area.

A Business Forum will be organised on the margins of the 2018 Summit of the Three Seas Initiative - an objective included in the Joint Declaration of the Warsaw Summit.

The Business Forum, which will become a regular annual event, could also ensure a monitoring function on the evolution of the implementation of the shortlisted projects. A network of Chambers of Commerce from the participating states will be created.  The establishment of a Three Seas Investment Fund is envisaged.

The Business Forum will also include a policy dimension in a form of expert panels tackling issues related to the Initiative from a broader perspective.

How do you get involved?

If you are an entrepreneur from the region or beyond and you are interested in the Business Forum, do not hesitate to contact us here. You can find the online Registration Form at the following link: https://3si-business.com/register/.

If you are a think-tank or academia from the region and you have an interesting paper or idea involving the concept of the Three Seas Initiative, we are happy to hear about it. Contact us here.

All events – the Summit, the Business Forum, including the Academic dimension,  will have media opportunities. 

You can find an updated event agenda here.