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Over trillion EUR needed to fill ‘infrastructural gaps’ in Three Seas countries: FM

As much as EUR 1.1 trillion is necessary to fill the “infrastructural gaps” in the Three Seas countries, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau during the online 2nd Forum of the Three Seas Regions in Lublin, eastern Poland. He added that this initiative is an important instrument for strengthening transatlantic relations.

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Minister Rau said that the countries of the Three Seas Initiative are currently focusing on filling “the infrastructure gap – when it comes to transport, transport corridors and digital development. According to economic analyses, the countries of the Three Seas Initiative will need expenditure of EUR 1.1 trillion by 2030 to bridge this gap. Some of these funds will come from international institutions, some from their own budgetary resources, and some from local government funds,” he said.

He noted that Poland increased its contribution to the Three Seas Fund to over EUR 750 mln. The minister recalled that the Three Seas Initiative brings together the European Union member states from the eastern flank. “It is a very important instrument to strengthen transatlantic relations. In the last six years, the Three Seas Initiative has developed a lot,” he added.

According to Mr Rau, a very important feature of the Initiative is “its complementarity with the instruments of the European Union’s cohesion policies.” The minister emphasised that in 2015-2019, the Three Seas countries recorded an average growth of 3.5 percent annually. “They are the engine of growth in the EU,” he remarked.

In his opinion, the Three Seas Initiative should generate new projects, new areas of cooperation within priority axes, which are transport, infrastructure and digital development. “We should consider closer cooperation when it comes to financial markets, the creation of a knowledge exchange, and also, when it comes to digital platforms that would connect our transport and digital networks. Achieving these goals will not be possible without common supranational, regional solutions,” the minister said.

The Three Seas Initiative brings together 12 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The idea behind this project is to stimulate the economic development of Central and Eastern European countries and to create a stable and coherent partnership of countries from the area between the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

The Forum of the Three Seas Regions is a project initiated by President Andrzej Duda in 2018 in Rzeszów, south-eastern Poland. This year, the second edition of the Forum of the Three Seas Regions in Lublin is accompanied by the Local Government Economic Congress gathering, among others, representatives of local government administration, science and business from the member states of the Three Seas Initiative.

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