The Three Seas Initiative’s (3SI) Summit and Business forum in Riga is planned to take place on 20 and 21 June 2022, and with the series of strategically and politically significant events approaching fast, discussions about the Three Seas region’s growth potential, the necessity to strengthen cross-border connectivity, and build stronger cross-country cooperation have become even more important. To preview the upcoming 3SI Summit and Business Forum in Latvia, on 8 June, the Atlantic Council’s Europe Centre hosted a workshop, during which high-ranking government officials from the European Union and the United States joined an exciting series of conversations on the Three Seas and the economic potentials the region, as well as the prospects of the relationship between the Initiative and Ukraine.

In the welcoming remarks, the Board director and Executive Chairman Emeritus, James L.Jones Jr., emphasized that “this is a critical moment for the region, Europe, and the world, and this Summit is poised to produce action to strengthen regional security and connectivity.”

In the armchair discussion that followed, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Krišjānis Kariņš, and Mr. Frederick Kempe, the President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, highlighted the value that the Three Seas region brings to investors from all around the world. “The Three Seas region is all about fantastic opportunities. First, at its basis, it is a fantastic investment opportunity. In Eastern Europe, and especially here in North-eastern Europe, we have vibrant economies, and we are open and looking for investments with better connectivity being our main goal – from North to South, both physical and digital. As we in Europe work toward making our markets stronger and strengthening our defence capabilities, it is very important to stress our transatlantic bonds and the necessity to make that relationship even stronger,” said the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Krišjānis Kariņš.

Tackling questions on the role of the Three Seas Initiative in providing necessary support for Ukraine, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to provide support for the reconstruction of Ukraine. He highlighted that while it is an open question, including Ukraine in the Three Seas Initiative does not only make political sense but is also a step toward the future development of the Initiative. He concluded that the Three Seas region has great potential for further growth, mainly because of the companies and the people on the ground in the region. “In this part of the world, there are still people who are keen to do things better and in novel ways. The vibrancy of the societies concentrating in this particular region is something that one does not see that often in the world, and that extra spark is a fantastic opportunity for new investors coming in,” Mr. Kariņš said.

The event continued with expert analysis on the economic potential of the Three Seas Initiative, featuring Asli Karahan, Chief Investment Officer at Lioness Capital, Adam Hitchcock, Board Member at Sovereign Infrastructure Group, H.E. Eglė Markevičiūtė, Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, Alan Meltzer, Director of the Office of Central European Affairs at the US Department of State, and Kaspars Rožkalns, Director-General at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Ian Brzezinski, Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

The concluding session of the workshop addressed the war in Ukraine and how the Three Seas Initiative can play a leading role in rebuilding Ukraine in the near- and long-term, featuring Ambassador and Vice-Chair at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Paula J. Dobriansky, Konrad Popławski, Head of the Central European Department at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Maxim Timchenko, Chief Executive Officer at DTEK, Ambassador Kurt Volker, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis. It was moderated by Mr. John E. Herbst, Senior Director at the Eurasia Centre. 

Video recording of the discussions can be viewed here.