The Three Seas Initiative is an informal political platform of countries located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, co-founded by Croatia and Poland. The aim of the initiative is to strengthen the cohesion of the twelve members that lag behind the west of the European Union in this area, with an emphasis on transport, digital and energy infrastructure.
The initiative is supported and participated in by the EU, Germany and the United States.
Address by Blinken and Zelenski via video
Croatia is represented in Riga by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. "A key issue in the EU and at the Three Seas Summit is adjustment to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels," said Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission for the Economy, in his native Riga.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the gathering with a video link, emphasizing the even greater importance of this format after the Russian invasion, which disrupted Europe's energy security, but also showed the importance of greater transport and digital connectivity in the east.
Blinken has announced large new funds from the American Corporation for International Development Finance (DFC) to the Initiative Fund. Unofficially, the aid is expected to amount to $ 300 million, and the exact amount will be announced by DFC representative Scott Nathan, who will participate in a business forum in Latvia later.
The initiative has an investment fund currently worth 928 million euros, but with the potential to grow to three to five billion. The state does not participate directly in the fund, but their development banks, including the Croatian HBOR with EUR 20 million.
The fund is seeking large investment projects worth over 30m euros.
Croatia has proposed 11 projects to the fund
The initiative has already invested in several projects, such as Cargounit, Poland's largest private locomotive rental company, Greenergy Data Centers to develop a network of green data centers in Central and Eastern Europe, and Enery, a solar operator in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Croatia has proposed 11 projects to the fund - one in the field of digital infrastructure, three in energy and seven in transport. These include the completion of the A5 motorway, the oil and gas terminal in the port of Ploče, the improvement of the railway network and river canals, the expansion of the LNG terminal on Krk and the port of Rijeka.
The twelve members of the initiative makeup almost a third of the European Union and are home to about 112 million people, but lag behind the GDP of Western members. It is an extremely important region for Croatia because it accounts for more than a third of its imports and exports, and 40 percent of tourists come from that area.
The first summit of the initiative was held in 2016 in Dubrovnik. Meetings followed in Warsaw, Bucharest, Ljubljana, Tallinn and Sofia, and after Riga the next meeting will be held in Romania.