Greece becomes 13th member of Three Seas Initiative on EU’s eastern flank

Greece has become the 13th country to join the Three Seas Initiative (TSI), a group of eastern European Union member states formed in 2015 on the initiative of Poland and Croatia. Polish President Andrzej Duda hailed Greece’s accession as a great “success”.

“Together with Greece, which officially joined the Three Seas Initiative yesterday, we are [made up of] more than 120 million ambitious, entrepreneurial Europeans,” said Duda at the opening session of the TSI Business Forum in Bucharest today.

“Our economies stand for almost 14% of the European Union’s total GDP…[and] over the last 5 years, our average GDP growth was 2.9%,” he added.

As well as Greece’s accession to the group, Moldova was yesterday confirmed as a “partner-participant” in TSI, a status already held by Ukraine.

Prezydent @AndrzejDuda w #Bukareszt: Przystąpienie do Inicjatywy Trójmorza Grecji to sukces tego szczytu. Partnerem stowarzyszonym z Inicjatywą została Mołdawia. Wraz z nami zasiadali przy stole m. in. przedstawiciele USA, Japonii, Wielkiej Brytanii i instytucji europejskich. To…

— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) September 6, 2023

“We want to congratulate and thank both Greece and Moldova and our other partners for their participation, because this cooperation is extremely important and shows how we can strengthen ourselves,” said Duda during a separate speech yesterday.

TSI, which is named for the fact that its members occupy the area between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, is intended to foster regional dialogue and boost investment, especially in transport, energy and digital infrastructure.

The project has received backing from the US administration. In 2017, during a visit to Warsaw, President Donald Trump attended a TSI summit and promised support for the initiative. In February 2020, the US pledged $1 billion for the TSI’s investment fund.

At the current summit in Bucharest, the Biden administration’s climate envoy, John Kerry, was among those present. “My job is to leverage American resources to help [TSI] meet the energy transition goal and to speed it up,” he told the forum.

.@ClimateEnvoy at @3seaseu: Green energy transition will provide prosperity for the #ThreeSeas region. This transition is coming no matter what.#ThreeSeasInitiative #3seas #energy

— Julita Wilczek (@julitawilczek) September 7, 2023

One of TSI’s flagship projects is Via Carpathia, a planned transnational highway network that will run from Klaipėda, Lithuania in the north to Thessaloniki, Greece in the south.

Duda noted that “the war in Ukraine, the need to deliver to Ukraine and export products from Ukraine – so that Ukraine can function as normally as possible in this extremely difficult situation – have shown how important infrastructure connections are in Central Europe and how important cooperation is between our countries”.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed the TSI summit yesterday by video. He urged the members not to extend the current ban on Ukrainian grain imports. Five of its member states – Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – favour extending the ban.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that the next TSI summit, due to take place in 2025, will be held in Budapest, Hungary.

At the Three Seas Summit, I addressed Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and the EU Commission.

Europe—all of us—proved capable of historic acts of solidarity. I thank all of our partners for that.

But why, when Ukrainian ports are burning almost every night…

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 6, 2023

Main image credit: Unuser123/Wikimedia Commons (under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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