Fare Well – Three Seas Initiative

US President Donald Trump attended the 2017 summit of the Three Seas Initiative in Poland on Thursday 6 July, which is hoped to boost economic ties between the United States and the ex-communist countries of central and Eastern Europe.

The Three Seas Initiative is a joint Polish-Croatian project, launched in 2016, with the aim of strengthening trade, infrastructure, energy and political co-operation among countries bordering the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Sea.

The following 12 countries are part of the initiative: Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.

Most of the 12 countries were in the Soviet sphere of influence after World War Two until 1989 and more than half of those joined the European Union in 2004, while Croatia joined in 2013. Nearly all are heavily reliant on Russian gas and oil imports and the Three Seas Initiative intends to usher in an independence from Russian energy supplies.

On the sidelines of the Summit of the Three Seas Initiative, Croatia’s President Grabar-Kitarovic held a bilateral meeting with the President of the United States of America Donald Trump with whom she discussed bilateral issues, the situation in South East Europe, energy and energy security, transatlantic relations, the fight against terrorism and uncontrolled migration and the future of the European Union after Brexit.

The President of Croatia told the US President Trump that Croatia appreciates the American position that the issue of the border between Croatia and Slovenia is a bilateral issue.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Poland’s north-western Świnoujście LNG terminal and one planned on the island of Krk in Croatia would be connected in order to secure regional energy independence.

Grabar-Kitarovic said the two gas terminals would not be in competition, but that they would complement each other.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in a meeting with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Warsaw, “expressed support for timely completion of the Krk Island liquefied natural gas facility” as the nation seeks to diversify its energy sector, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

Trump also urged Grabar-Kitarovic “to do everything possible to advance regional reconciliation” in the western Balkans, the White House said.

The President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović moderated the Transatlantic session in Warsaw.

From the Croatian President’s website:
“US President Donald Trump emphasised that the Three Seas Initiative can help in constructing energy infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, mentioning explicitly a floating terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the Croatian island of Krk. “I congratulate your states for having already commenced key projects that will remove obstacles and enable better access to energy markets and better energy connectivity. One of these projects is also a floating LNG terminal on the Croatian island of Krk,” said US President Trump speaking at the opening of the Summit in Warsaw, where the leaders of twelve Central and East European countries have met.

The Summit of the Three Seas Initiative in Warsaw, where President Trump is the guest of honor, is devoted to strengthening concrete trade, infrastructural, energy and political cooperation in the area between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea. He called the Summit “historic,” emphasizing that this part of Europe has special significance for him. “As you know, my wife comes from Slovenia and she loves Slovenia,” said the US President.

He expressed that the United States’ support to this meeting and the Initiative can help in creating a sustainable and accessible energy market and can bring citizens prosperity. “Allow me to say on behalf of the American people that we stand behind the states of the Three Seas Initiative, we support you in your efforts to create greater prosperity, construct infrastructure and I welcome this historic chance for deepening economic partnership with your region,” he said.

The Three Seas Initiative is a joint Croatian-Polish project launched in the summer of 2016 at the meeting in Dubrovnik with the objective to strengthen trade, infrastructural, energy and political cooperation in the area between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas.

The Initiative is designed as an informal platform for ensuring political support and action in concrete projects, and gathers twelve states – Croatia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and Austria. The Initiative is strongly supported by the United States and China.

President Grabar-Kitarovic said that in Europe, there is still a need to eliminate “artificial divisions in ‘old’ and ’new’, ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ Europe” even after the “iron curtain” was physically removed its remnants are still felt in a fragmented Central Europe.

“We are Central Europe and we want to be central to the European Union and transatlantic community, just as any other Euro-Atlantic country. We don’t want to be part of the periphery,” stated the President of Croatia.

She emphasized that the Three Seas Initiative “is an informal and flexible Presidential platform to exchange views and connect businesses and people through concrete projects and initiatives.”

She added that this is not “against” something but rather something “for”. “Our goal is to work on connecting our countries for the sake of the cohesion of Europe and the Euro-Atlantic community, because together we are stronger,” indicated President Grabar-Kitarovic.
Fare well – Three Seas Initiative.

Ina Vukić

 

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