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POLAND: Three Seas Initiative Business Forum

A Business Summit of the Three Seas Initiative started yesterday in Ljubljana. The project’s aim is to boost cooperation among countries between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas. It is an informal platform for cooperation between 12 EU member states: Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Austria. This is the fourth such summit, following similar events in Dubrovnik, Warsaw, and Bucharest. The event is attended by seven Presidents from the region, including Poland’s Andrzej Duda, as well as the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Perry’s presence made energy an important topic of this conference, with the US hoping that the informal alliance will lead to increased LNG imports from the US. This is already beginning to materialise through Poland’s LNG Terminal in Świnoujście, but it isn’t until Poland finishes expanding the terminal that it will be able to move more fuel to its southern neighbours.

During the conference, Andrzej Duda has been introduced as the “founding father” of the initiative. While the prominence of the Initiative is increasing, Duda has much more diplomatic legwork left to materialise his ideal. An initial proposal of a Three Seas joint budget was floated during the conference but without concrete developments. The involvement of Germany, as a partner of the Initiative, is a good sign for the project, with President Steinmeier attending some talks. Still, the 12 states forming the informal group make up around one-third of the EU populations, but they still create only about 10% of the bloc’s GDP. The Initiative could be a big success for the region, as well as President Duda, but needs to formalise some of its proposals.