In the history of most countries, opportunities such as the Three Seas Initiative have not cropped up often. In fact, very rarely. This historic chance puts Poland in the geostrategic centre and can only be compared to the project of 1569, when the Union of Lublin gave rise to the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, one of the most powerful states in Europe.
The Three Seas Initiative will not be an easy undertaking. Establishing a solid network of among the CEE countries on the North-South axis will surely have its numerous opponents. But it is crucial, not as a sort of resistance to Western Europe, but as a way of establishing a more egalitarian Europe in which every country is able to fulfil its potential.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with regional leaders at the summit of the Three Seas Initiative group in Warsaw on 6th July 2017 was the first step towards improving trade, infrastructure and energy links among the 12 nations between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. In 2018, the next summit is expected, this time in Bucharest.
Trump’s visit to Poland last year showed how important this project is for the United States. Stable Poland and stable Three Seas translate to stability of the whole region. Another Europe's headache has always been energy. If American gas can be delivered and processed in Poland, the problem will be solved completely.
The Three Seas Initiative group is made up of members of the European Union and all but one are former communist countries whose economies and infrastructure are still developing. Together, they form a market of 105 million people, making it particularly attractive for private investors. Norway, Sweden and Turkey are also often considered part of the group as they naturally belong to either the Baltic, Black or Adriatic Sea region.
Most of the region’s critical infrastructure, including roads and rail services, run on an East-West corridor, partly due to Germany’s economic dominance. The project aims to develop better connections along the North-South axis in the sectors of energy, transport and digital communications in order “to complete the single European market.”
One of the key goals of the Three Seas Initiative is to promote a greater energy independence from Russia, which has sometimes wielded its gas and oil as a political tool over Central and Eastern European states. Poland has recently received its first shipments of liquefied natural gas to Świnoujście, a port city on the Baltic coast. This aspect does particularly interest the United States, with which Poland has just signed two very big contracts for the delivery of gas after 2022, after expiration of the contract binding Poland with Gazprom. Not all countries of the Three Seas Initiative wish, like Poland, to stop buying Russian gas but they all support the diversification that these new gas pipelines will lead to, as there are also important gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea and the planned Baltic Pipe will also allow to deliver Norwegian gas to the region. For Poland, the development of connections between the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic is a concurrence to the alliance between the German and Russian companies involved in the Nord Stream II project.
Another project that is being achieved within the Three Seas is the Via Carpatia, which includes a motorway and expressway network that will lead from Klaipėda in Lithuania to Thessaloniki in Greece along the Eastern side of the European Union. There are also some long-term projects for creating railway and waterway transport axes, as today in Central Europe, these are all the transport infrastructures that are less developed on a North-South direction than on the East-West one.
The Three Seas Initiative should boost economy of the entire EU and help it to become more competitive on the global scale, dramatically improving the infrastructure and energy relations in the Central and Eastern Europe.
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