On 19 October 2020, the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the Three Seas Initiative Virtual Summit and Web Forum hosted by Estonia in an online format. During the Smart Money panel discussion at the forum, ministers of Three Seas Initiative (TSI) countries and representatives of the Three Seas Investment Fund shared views on the importance of attracting new investments to boost regional infrastructure, connectivity and competitiveness.
During the Smart Money discussion, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined that the Three Seas Initiative gives us the right tools to develop the EU level convergence helps our region’s economies and the sectors tasked with infrastructure development adapt to the challenges posed by geopolitics, climate change and the development of digital technologies.
The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the need for strengthening of cooperation between the regions' countries and the need for development of infrastructure. The Three Seas Investment Fund provides a platform for the effective implementation of strategically important projects that offer the capacity to build a strong backbone for regional economies.
Edgars Rinkēvičs welcomed support provided for the Three Seas Initiative by the United States, Germany and the European Commission. At the same time, he thanked the U.S. for pledging to contribute to the TSI Investment Fund and expressed support for the Blue Dot Network principles related to the transparency of investments, sustainability, stability and accountability in the implementation of international infrastructure projects.
In his statement, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs also said that the implementation of strategically significant projects in the fields of energy, transport and digital communication calls for a firm political commitment, an open dialogue with the private sector and a robust TSI Investment Fund.
The meeting included a presentation of the list of potential TSI projects compiled to offer a full overview of infrastructure development needs for promoting dynamic and sustainable connectivity of the region.
The Three Sea Initiative (TSI) launched in 2016 is a regional economic cooperation platform of geopolitical and strategic importance established with the aim of carrying out physical infrastructure projects that would bridge the connectivity gap between the EU’s southern and northern regions in the energy, transport infrastructure and digital communication sectors. The initiative also has a great potential for reinforcing EU-level cohesion and strengthening the transatlantic bond.
The Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund established in 2019 aims at drawing investments to the Three Seas region and providing a platform for infrastructure projects of strategic importance. The Fund’s structure envisages a possibility for the participation both of private and institutional investors, and international financial institutions. This past 16 September, a Latvian state-owned development finance institution, ALTUM, officially joined the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.
The Three Seas Initiative consists of the 12 EU countries that are geographically located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
The countries that have made their contributions to the Fund or announced their governments’ decisions to contribute are Poland, Romania, Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Croatia. At the Munich Security Forum on 15 February 2020, the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo highlighted that the United States was committed to invest up to one billion U.S. dollars to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.
The previous Three Seas Initiative Summits took place in Croatia (2016), Poland (2017), Romania (2018), and Slovenia (2019).
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