Three Seas Initiative
Three Seas Initiative
Map of Europe indicating the twelve member states of the Three Seas Initiative
|1,218,975 km2 (470,649 sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
The Three Seas Initiative, also known as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea (BABS) Initiative, or simply the Three Seas (in Latin, Trimarium), is a forum of twelve states in the European Union, along a north–south axis from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea in Central and Eastern Europe. The Initiative aims to create an Intermarium-based regional dialogue on various questions affecting the member states. The member states are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, and met for their first summit in 2016, in Dubrovnik.
The twelve Three Seas countries cover 29 per cent of the EU’s territory (1,210,000 km2), are home to 25 per cent of its inhabitants (112 million) and produce 19 per cent of its GDP (based on purchasing power parity).
The current initiative is influenced by the Polish interwar Intermarium concept. The modern Three Seas Initiative was launched in 2015 by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. It held its first summit in Dubrovnik (Croatia) on 25–26 August 2016. The two-day event ended with a declaration of co-operation in economic matters, particularly in the field of energy as well as transport and communications infrastructure. Polish President Andrzej Duda called the initiative "a new concept to promote Europe's unity and cohesion, it is an idea of cooperation among 12 countries located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas, the three seas of Central Europe." Guest speakers included Chinese Ministerial Assistant for Foreign Affairs Liu Haixing, who talked about the interconnectedness with the Chinese government's Belt and Road Initiative, and former US National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones, who stressed the initiative's role in European development and security.
Second summit, 2017 Warsaw
The initiative's second summit was held 6–7 July 2017 in Warsaw. US President Donald Trump attended the summit. The participating countries unanimously agreed to set up a Three Seas Business Forum.
Third summit, 2018 Bucharest
The initiative's third summit took place 17–18 September 2018 in Bucharest. Participants approved a list of priority interconnection projects in the three key areas – transport, energy and digital. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry attended the summit as guests. The first edition of the Business Forum was organised at this time. 3SI Network of Chambers of Commerce was created and Letter of Intent in relation to the establishment of the Three Seas Investment Fund was signed here.
|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|||
The initiative is closely related to two major infrastructure projects in the region:
- A north–south highway "Via Carpathia", connecting Klaipėda in Lithuania with Thessaloniki in Greece
- Liquefied natural gas infrastructure, with sea terminals in Poland and Croatia and a connecting pipeline
Three Seas Investment Fund
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. Its goal is to activate other sources of financing, such as the resources of individual countries of the region or EU funds.
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.
- Central European Defence Cooperation
- Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries
- Craiova Group
- Northern Future Forum
- Visegrád Group
- Lublin Triangle
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