The Three Seas Summit in Tallinn held a keynote high-level discussion in which three presidents from participating nations found a common agreement with representatives of both the United States and the European Commission, particularly on the issue of energy dependency, plus the sheer potential of the initiative.
Hosted by Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator at U.K. financial daily The Financial Times, the discussion covered a range of topics in the energy, digital and environmental aspects of the Three Seas as vast and diverse as the region itself, but Estonia’s President, Kersti Kaljulaid, had news that the fund on which the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is based had already seen a boost in the few hours the conference had been running.
“Above €600 million after the summit, after which starts hard work of gathering private sector investments,“ Kaljulaid said, referring to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF), which Estonia, along with eight other countries, has decided to supported financially.
European Vice Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, appearing via video link, was full of praise for the initiative as a whole, which she said took nothing away from the EU but brought much.
"Truly cross-border, has the same values of cohesion and convergence that the whole union shares, along with transparency, fighting corruption, the rule of law – what is not to like about the Three Seas?" Vestager asked.
Polish President Andrzej Duda talked about the shared values of the Three Seas Nations and the fact that they had all been in the same historical boat, with the possible exception of Austria.
Teamwork is key, he added, quoting the words of his basketball hero Michael Jordan.
"I hope the outcome of the Three Seas Initiative will be a happy one, and what I can say today is that, to quote one of my favorite basketball players, Michael Jordan, who said that 'talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.'"
U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes affirmed those had indeed been Jordan’s words, adding that he had had the honor of seeing him play during his heyday.
Menezes focused on energy in his remarks.
"Strong energy sector results in a strong economic system and strong national security. Without energy you don’t have any of those," he said, noting that the U.S. was committed to helping the region divest itself of its reliance on too small a field of energy suppliers.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, as the next "captain of the team" as moderator Gideon Rachman put it, stressed the importance of education and science, saying that he saw infrastructure as a means rather than an end.
President Radev had been formally welcomed as Bulgaria takes on the host role of the 3SI from the end of this year, presented with a specially-made Three Seas flag by Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid had the final word in appealing to investors to look seriously at the 3SIIF as a viable investment target with strong returns. The private sector, after all, was the most efficient way to get things done, she said.
"Private sector partners – please use this smart opportunity to invest smart money into smart connectivity in the three seas, we promise to keep red tape at bay and that cross-border aspects will work smoothly and ensure your success and return, thank you for investing your time and money."