President Levits takes part in Three Seas Virtual Summit

On October 19 Estonia will host the Three Seas Virtual Summit, at which several heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and business leaders will discuss the future of Central and Eastern Europe.

In the mix will be Latvia's President Egils Levits, who will participate by videolink. President of Poland Andrzej Duda, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and the US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach will travel to Tallinn for the event.

The live broadcast of the summit can be seen here, starting 14.15 (EEST) www.3seas.eu/live

According to President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, the Three Seas Initiative will help us to bring new investments to the region and allow the Three Seas area to market itself as the fastest growing region in Europe.

"Western Europe has a tight network of interconnected transport and energy corridors, but the infrastructure connections between the Three Seas countries are lacking. The aim of the Three Seas Initiative is to change this and to boost the economies of the region through the development of better energy, transport and digital infrastructures," the Estonian Head of State said ahead of the event.

The Three Seas Virtual Summit has two parts: a summit of 12 Central and Eastern European countries, joined also by Pompeo and Vestager. The heads of state of Estonia, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Lithuania will participate in the working session.

The second part of the event is a live-broadcasted web forum, which will focus on the funding of energy, transport and digital infrastructure in the Three Seas region and the digitalisation of the energy and transport sectors. The broadcast will open with a debate, followed by presentations and discussions on the financing of international infrastructure projects, while the latter part of the day will focus on smart connectivity, proposing means for the digitalisation of energy and transport sector infrastructure so as to promote innovation and the more effective use of infrastructure.

The Three Seas initiative brings together 12 EU Member States between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

By area, the Three Seas countries represent almost a third of the European Union and are home to 111 million people. However, figures from 2018 show that their average GDP per capita is 78% of the EU average.

Further information about the initiative can be found online at www.3seas.eu

Later in the day the text of Levits' pre-recorded address was published and is reproduced below.

Dear friends,

I greet you from Latvia, one of the Baltic Sea countries in the Three Seas Initiative.

This year’s Three Seas Initiative Summit demonstrates our joint commitment towards better connectivity of our regions – connectivity in the fields of energy, transport and digitalization.

Let me give you a brief Latvian perspective on the Initiative.

The projects submitted by Latvia for consideration are based on a number of principles.

First, renewable energy is a priority for Latvia. Both because of our commitment to climate change goals and to the region’s energy security.

Second, we need a rail corridor from the Baltic States to link us to Western Europe. In the 1920s Latvians could board the Nord-Express sleeping car at Riga railway station and arrive in Berlin 15 hours later. One hundred years later Rail Baltica will be the fast rail link connecting the Baltic states to Western Europe, and possibly eventually the far North.

Thirdly, our vision is one of highly developed 5G networks and artificial intelligence harnessed to promote euro-atlantic values.

Friends,

For us, the Three Seas Initiative is also a way to strengthen the transatlantic bond. We believe that success of the Three Seas Initiative lies in continuous involvement of partners – the United States, Germany and the European Commission.

Ambition, combined with imagination, a clear vision and a responsible attitude, will help us move the Three Seas Initiative projects from paper into realty. These are projects that could help our countries individually and will cause the whole region to become more resilient and competitive.

The Three Seas Initiative is an important instrument in our hands. Let us make good use of it! Our progress will be judged at our next Summit in Bulgaria in 2021.

Thank you!

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