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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 26.10.2020, 11:18

Estonia: Three Seas Virtual Summit, Web Forum to kick off Monday

BC, Tallinn, 13.10.2020.Print version
A virtual summit of the Three Seas Initiative is to take place next week with Polish President Andrzej Duda and his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev scheduled to arrive in Tallinn to take part in the summit in person, writes LETA/BNS.

Estonia is to host  on Monday the Three Seas Virtual Summit, online participants in which include several Eastern and Central European heads of state, German President Frank Walter Steinmeier and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, spokespeople for the office of the president said. For this occasion, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev will visit Tallinn in person.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the Three Seas Initiative helps reduce a shortage of investments in the region and enables to jointly market the region as one of the fastest growing areas in Europe.

"If we look at Western Europe, it is strongly interconnected via transport and energy corridors. Comparing it with our region, we can see that the years spent behind the Iron Curtain have left a mark on our infrastructure as these connections are much sparser. On the other hand, our region has led the economic growth of the entire European Union for years and there is great economic potential in creating better connections. This initiative will help us catch up with the rest of Europe," the Estonian head of state said.

Kaljulaid pointed out the initiative as one of the most positive transatlantic cooperation axes in recent years. It also helps strengthen the unity of the European Union, which is confirmed by the European Commission's high-level representation at the event.

The summit will consist of two parts -- a high-level summit to be attended by 12 heads or representatives of states in the region, German President Frank Walter Steinmeier, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager. A working session will be attended by heads of state of Estonia, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovenia and Lithuania.

The second part of the summit is an open web forum, topics to be discussed in which include funding of the Three Seas region's energy, transport and digital infrastructures and the digitization of the energy and transport sectors. A comprehensive smart connectivity concept for the Three Seas area will be presented at the event, drawn up at the initiative of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. The concept aims to serve as a standard for cross-border smart infrastructure planning. Expert knowledge will additionally be provided by Google and McKinsey.

Estonia has increased the practical dimension of the Three Seas Initiative while making preparations for the summit, according to Kaljulaid.

"We set an objective to turn this initiative into a truly practical form of cooperation instead of a platform for exchanging ideas. At Estonia's instigation, cooperation has been enhanced at the level of governments, the number of states that have joined the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund has grown significantly while the creation of the Three Seas Secretariat and a comprehensive concept for smart connectivity will help us find ways for making better use of our infrastructure," she said.

The virtual summit will kick off with a discussion between presidents of Three Seas countries on the future of the initiative and the region. The virtual panel will be moderated by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign-affairs columnist for the Financial Times. The summit will continue with presentations and discussions on the financing of international infrastructure projects, while the third block of the day will focus on smart connectivity and ways for digitizing the energy and transport sectors in order to foster innovation and more efficient use of infrastructure. US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and several other ministers and business leaders will also take floor at the event.

As one of the initiators of the Three Seas Initiative, the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, will attend the event in Tallinn in person. With Bulgaria hosting next year's Three Seas Initiative Summit, Kaljulaid will symbolically hand over organization rights to the president of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, on Monday.

The Three Seas Initiative brings together 12 member states of the European Union located between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Sea -- Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Partners include the United States and Germany. 

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