On 21 June 2022, the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) hosted the 2nd Parliamentary Forum of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) focusing on digital transformation, interoperability of infrastructure, energy independence and security in the region.
Speaker of the Saeima, Ināra Mūrniece, opened the forum that brought together guest of honour of the Parliamentary Forum Deputy Chair of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olga Kondratiuk and participants from ten 3SI countries, the U.S. as Initiatives strategic partner as well as Georgia, Moldova, Canada, Ukraine, Japan, the Republic of Korea.
“We must help Ukraine to win this war by all means at our disposal. We are interested in lasting peace in Europe, and Russia's interests are at odds with that,” said Mūrniece, noting the duty to help Ukraine with weapons supplies, to keep the sanctions imposed on Russia, and to continue the isolation of both Russia and its satellite, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. “The Three Seas Initiative countries also support Ukraine by welcoming refugees,” the Saeima Speaker stressed.
The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Mr. Rigards Kols noted that the war waged by Russia in Ukraine would have long-lasting, negative, and severe economic consequences. "Recent history gives examples of our work aimed to protect the people of our countries and improve their living conditions," said Mr. Rohards Kols, hoping that the Parliamentary Forum would serve as a basis to further develop specific ideas.
Participants of the Parliamentary Forum joined three panels on the regional economy, security, and digital transformation.
The first panel of the day tackled geopolitical security, infrastructure benefits, and the need for political engagement to further facilitate and legitimize the implementation of infrastructure projects. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, joined U.S. Congressman Don Bacon and Minoru Kiuchi, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Japan, for the panel’s key-note address. Participants evaluated the current level of understanding and engagement regarding the 3SI projects in their home countries and discussed their experience and prospects regarding the current and future implementation of the 3SI.
“Current geopolitical situation demands us to be more decisive than ever. We have to continue strengthening our defense and resilience – physical, digital as well as emotional. We must get more confident that the knowledge and experience we have in our region is very valuable,” Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined.
The penultimate panel of the day focused on the economic aspects of the 3SI, particularly highlighting the need for stronger regional connections and the importance of strategic infrastructure. The impacts of geopolitical instability and climate change on the energy sector, sustainable development and regional connectivity were discussed. Participants were joined in a video address by the U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and two key-note addresses by Reinis Bērziņš, Chair of the Board of JSC “Development Finance Institution Altum,” and Uldis Bariss, Chair of the Board of JSC “Conexus Baltic Grid.”
The last panel of the forum addressed digital transformation opportunities within the framework of the 3SI. Juris Binde, President of LLC “Latvijas Mobilais Telefons,” and Artūrs Toms Plešs, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, opened the panel discussion. The panel focused on digital solutions that not only advance digital skills, education, digital security, reliability, connectivity and access to telecommunications services but also have a positive impact on Southern Europe, the Balkans and the EU’s Eastern neighbors. Participants assessed the cooperation of public administration and the private sector in cybersecurity policy-making and in ensuring business continuity of critical Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions in crisis situations. Additionally, the modernisation of infrastructure networks and the regional potential in applying digital solutions were also discussed.
The 2nd Parliamentary Forum of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) took place within the framework of the Three Seas Summit and Business Forum.Recommendations_Second 3SI Parliamentary Forum