On 7 June 2022, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelšs, chaired the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) National Coordinators and Sherpas Meeting. The meeting brought together representatives from the 3SI countries, the United States of America, Germany and the European Commission. The agenda addressed the development potential of the 3SI and the ways to provide assistance to Ukraine.
This year’s 3SI Summit takes place at the time of geopolitical and economic challenges, which brings prominence to discussions on the priorities of the 3SI: strengthening the region’s connectivity; promotion of EU-level cohesion; and development of cooperation with transatlantic partners. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has also been invited to take part in the summit meeting.
At this point, we cannot afford to have a regional format that would not express clear support for Ukraine’s EU-accession process and seek the ways to offer assistance and encouragement, Andris Pelšs underlined.
The participants agreed that it was vital to strengthen cooperation at the regional level and promote the implementation of important infrastructure projects in the region. At the same time, the 3SI countries and strategic partners expressed support for Ukraine’s participation in the 3SI Riga Summit and for closer cooperation in concrete projects in order to facilitate Ukraine’s recovery.
The representative of the United States Department of State, Dr. Karen Donfried, emphasised that the brutal war waged by Russia in Ukraine clearly demonstrated the strategic importance of the 3SI and the region’s needs for a secure and robust energy, transport and communication infrastructure, which reinforces the region’s resilience and its further integration in the EU’s transport and communication network. This is a pivotal moment, Dr. Donfried noted, when a clean and reliable energy sector must be further strengthened in the EU, and she underlined that the US was prepared to offer the required support.
Dr Karen Donfried also noted that it was currently important to provide support at the international level, with Ukraine’s future in mind. The countries of the 3SI region have a major role to play in the promotion of the process of Ukraine’s integration. Tangible infrastructure projects are needed that bolster the region’s security and resilience. The representative from the US confirmed the preparedness of the US to help, and stressed that the United States International Development Finance Corporation was actively exploring the possibilities for investment in the region’s energy sector.
The State Secretary accentuated that now more than ever, a high value was being placed on advancing close cooperation with reliable and like-minded countries outside the 3SI region. He welcomed the interest on the part of Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and other countries at both political and the private sector level.
To pursue an exchange of views on the attraction of sustainable investment that would strengthen the connectivity of the region’s infrastructure in the energy, transport, and digital sectors, the 3SI Summit and Business Forum will bring together heads of state and representatives from international institutions and businesses in Riga on 20-2 June.