Today, 20 June 2022, marked the first day of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) Summit and Business Forum in Riga, Latvia bringing together leaders from 12 member states, strategic partners, the regional and international business, and investment sectors.
In the first half of the Summit, H.E. Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia hosted nine presidents and officials of the 3SI member states, as well as the representatives from the Initiative’s partners – the United States, Germany and the European Commission - to discuss key issues and plans. The President of Latvia emphasized the strategic role of the 3SI region providing support to Ukraine, both during the war but also considering Ukraine’s recovery perspectives. Also, during the Summit, issues of closer involvement of the Initiative's strategic partners, building cooperation between the 3SI member states, openness for cooperation with like-minded regional and global partners, including participation of the United Kingdom and Japan in the Initiative, as well as cooperation between the governments, and prospects to strengthening the Initiative’s priorities were discussed.
“The Three Seas is a region of growth as our economies are growing faster than in the rest of Europe, and for this reason we aim to foster further development in the three key areas of the Initiative: energy, transport and digitalisation, from which energy has become particularly significant considering today's geopolitical context," highlighted the President of Latvia.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, attended the Summit online and provided a video speech, noting the role of the 3SI in supporting Ukraine and confirming Ukraine's interest in becoming an active member of the Three Seas Initiative. Video speeches were also given by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
At the end of Summit, the President of Latvia solemnly presented the 3SI flag to the President of Romania H.E. Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis as Romania is the next host country of the Summit in 2023.
In parallel with the Summit, the 3SI Business Forum was opened with the participation and introductory words by the Prime Minister in Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš and the Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva. Over the two days, political and business leaders will discuss the investment environment, economic development scenarios, diversification of energy supply routes and sources, innovative solutions in the field of mobility and logistics, and the development of the digital sector in the 3SI region.
Introducing the panel discussions, the Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš emphasized that “working together not only helps the Three Seas Region thrive financially, but it also makes a resilient society that can stand up to outside pressure and aggression."
Whereas despite global turbulence, Head of IMF Kristalina Georgieva remained positive about the 3SI region’s future considering the region’s dynamism and determination. “In a single generation, the region has closed half of the development gap with Western Europe, thanks to its people, innovation, and hard work,” she said.
In the conclusion of the Summit’s Day one, the presidential panel took place, in which the presidents and senior officials discussed impact of the geopolitical and geoeconomic situation and development of cross-border infrastructure in the region.
Additionally, on 20 June, a round table discussion of the regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry, organized by the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) “Ensuring regional security by employing networks of transport, energy and infrastructure: the role of chambers in this endeavour,” was organized. The 2nd Three Seas Parliamentary Forum with the participation of high-ranking officials from Latvia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Canada, Czech Republic, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and other countries is also being held tackling issues of digital transformation, interoperability of infrastructure, energy independence and security. In addition, on 20 June, e-presentation of the book: "Three Seas Initiative: Mapping National Perspectives” was organized by the Latvian Institute of International Affairs.
3SI Business Forum on June 21
The 3SI Business Forum will continue on 21 June 2022, attended by high-level experts and representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (EBRD), Bank for International Cooperation in Japan (JBIC), United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Bank of Latvia, Nordic Investment Bank, 3SI Investment Fund, as well as the representatives from Amber Infrastrucutre Group, ORLEN, Rolls Royce, Atkins, Google, LMT, Mikrotik and Greenergy.
The events and discussions of the 3SI Business Forum can be followed live on the official website of the 3SI Summit and the Business Forum 3seas.eu, Facebook and Twitter accounts @3seas.eu.