The Three Seas Business Forum, held in Riga, Latvia, has concluded with unanimously expressed support for Ukraine, an investment of up to 300M USD into the Three Seas Investment Fund, and a commitment of 5 million USD into the region's digital inclusion by Google.
The Three Seas Business Forum was held alongside the annual Three Seas Initiative Summit and convened over 600 guests joining in person. Aiming to strengthen the cross-border infrastructure in the Three Seas Region, connecting 12 EU countries on the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas, specialists discussed the topics of digitalization, energy independence, transportation, and sustainable investment over two days on June 20 and 21.
The events featured three major outcomes:
Reiterated support for Ukraine – the Summit concluded with a statement unanimously supporting Ukraine's membership path in EU, and a commitment to including Ukraine in Three Seas investment projects to strengthen its independence, economy, resilience, and ties to the EU.
Investment commitment of up to 300M USD from the USA into the Three Seas Investment Fund.
A commitment of 5M USD by the end of 2023 from Google to support non-profit projects that advance digital inclusion in the 3SI countries and that lead to a more resilient and connected civil society across the region.
A common thread throughout the Business Forum was the impact of the war in Ukraine on the region, as well as the need to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. It was emphasized that developing robust infrastructure across the Three Seas region requires Ukraine's participation and integration to not only strengthen Ukraine, but also to strengthen the security of the region as well.
“Support for Ukraine in frontline EU countries is the strongest. Countries and societies that are most exposed to Russia are willing to pay the highest costs because these countries are aware of the risks and know that the cost of inaction is much higher. Since the start of the pandemic and throughout Russia’s aggression against Ukraine our number one priority has been keeping markets open and supply chains well-functioning. The EU’s commitment to invest in the region remains rock solid. Public and private investments working in synergy have a decisive role to play.” - Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission
Host country Latvia successfully reached a major target that they had initially set out for this year's Forum – to place a focus this year on the strengthening of the Three Seas Investment Fund. This was done by announcing the USA's commitment to the fund, which aims at supporting infrastructure and connectivity projects throughout the Three Seas axis.
“We’d like to announce a $300M commitment to the Three Seas Investment Fund – a signal of our support for the region.” -Scott A. Nathan, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
The 4th project to receive investment from the Three Seas Investment Fund was announced – the BMF Port Burgas EAD of Bulgaria. The Three Seas Investment Fund acquired a large share, with the majority stake remaining in the hands of Advance Properties OOD.
Google.org announced an investment into the strengthening of digital society in the Three Seas Region, committing 5M USD by the end of 2023 to support non-profit projects. The investment will be focused on digital inclusion and the development of a digitally-savvy society.
“The last few months have shown that resilience, close collaboration between countries, shared values and a focus on digital opportunities have really been critical, not just to get us through the challenging times that we’ve seen, but with an eye to the future – to a more prosperous and sustainable one.” – Karan Bhatia, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google
The event highlighted the commitment of all member countries to continue to strengthen cooperation, cross-border projects, and sustainable future-proof investment, in an environmentally conscious manner. It was announced that next year's Three Seas Summit and Business Forum will be held in Romania.
About the Three Seas Initiative
The Three Seas Initiative was founded in 2016 by 12 EU countries connecting the Baltic,
Adriatic, and Black Seas. These include Latvia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The region combines a population of 111M (25% of EU), one-third of the territory in the EU, and average GDP growth of 2.6% over the last 5 years, which is higher than the EU's average, which is 1.2%.