Three Seas Initiative – Developing Eastern Europe
Countries bordering Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea sign collaboration agreementSeptember 12th, 2016
The Dubrovnik Forum, held in the homonymous Croatian city during the 25th and 26th of August, united prominent political, diplomatic and economic representatives of twelve European countries representing the “Three Seas Initiative”. This informal agreement is aimed at creating a political framework to support “North-South” cooperation in Europe on all levels, and balance the Central and Eastern European EU countries to their counterparts when it comes to overall development.
The summit was chaired by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and was also attended by the Presidents of Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria, as well as high representatives of Estonia, Latvia, Austria, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia. These countries are the ones forming part of the informal “Three Seas Initiative”, which advocates for the improvement of their cooperation on all levels.
It was addressed by the President of Croatia that the countries in question account for 28% of the territory of the EU, as well as for 22% of its population. However, the region formed by the Baltic-Adriatic-Black Sea corridor only accounts for 10% of the Union’s GDP and 51% of the Union’s average GDP per capita. Therefore, economic, political, but also cultural cooperation is paramount to strengthen practical and concrete collaboration for the improvement of this situation.
The priorities set in the Dubrovnik Statement were the ones of cooperation on energetic projects (like the one of the Adriatic-Ionian Gas Pipeline, the Memorandum about which was also signed), economic dynamism encouragement (especially among the different Chambers of Commerce in the support of the field of start-up enterprises), as well as on transport, scientific and educational levels. Current issues such as perspectives about collaboration in refugees and migrant routes controls, were also addressed.
However, regarding the field of cultural diplomacy, the Polish President Andrzej Duda highlighted the necessity of strengthening educational cooperation, given the current situation of youth “brain-drain” that his country and the rest of his counterpart countries in the “Three Seas Initiative” suffer. Many highly educated young professionals tend to emigrate to Western European countries to seek a better quality of life.
Therefore, apart from the diversification and increase in the plurality and dynamism of actors and investors in fields like energy and transport, mechanisms like joint scientific and cultural projects, as well as specialized student and research exchange programs between the initiative’s countries’ institutions were mentioned as priorities to be carried out. The next summit of the Initiative was announced for May 2017 in Wroçlaw, Poland, where the above mentioned planned achievements will be assessed.