At today’s virtual summit of the Three Seas Initiative, which was hosted by Estonia, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu moderated the panel “Smart Money”, which looked at developments of the Three Seas Investment Fund since the previous summit in 2019, when Estonia took over as the coordinator of the initiative.
The virtual discussion underscored the importance of connections and additional investments in the region, which has been thrown into particularly sharp relief by the current COVID-19 crisis. “This year has been full of unexpected events, which has forced us rearrange the entire format of the meetings of the Three Seas Initiative several times,” Reinsalu said. “Paradoxically, it was the disappearance of the possibility to travel that highlighted the enormous value of strategic connections, both physical as well as digital. The need to develop smart infrastructure is greater than ever and targeted public investments into infrastructure is a sure way of helping us on the way to economic recovery.”
Reinsalu said Estonia’s most ambitious goal this year was to convince more states to join the Three Seas Investment Fund. “When we took over the organisation of the summit from Slovenia in 2019, the newly registered fund had two main investors – Poland and Romania.”
“As a start, after a thorough cost-benefit analysis by the Ministry of Finance, Estonia became the third Three Seas state to decide to join the fund,” Reinsalu said. “We made this decision with full confidence that it would increase the availability of capital for our infrastructure projects, bring institutional investors closer to Estonia and the region, and give a solid return on the investment,” Reinsalu noted. “With its decision and activities, Estonia has encouraged other states to consider joining the Three Seas Investment Fund. Now that as many as nine countries have decided to join – in addition to founding members Poland and Romania they include Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovenia and Croatia –, it is clear that the Three Seas states have confidence in the recovery of the region’s economy and in the fund. I hope the countries who have not yet joined will follow our lead,” he added.
At the summit and web forum, the national development bank of Poland and fund manager Amber Infrastructure Group announced their decision to join the fund in addition to participating states. The United States affirmed it was moving forward with the plan to meet its promise of contributing up to $1 billion.
President of Poland Andrzej Duda, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and the US Under Secretary for Economic Growth Keith Krach attended the Three Seas Summit and Web Forum in Tallinn. The web forum, which included discussions on topics such as smart money, democracy and connectivity and the opportunities of energy and transport cooperation, was streamed live at 3seas.eu/live and remains available for watching.
Photos from the Smart Money panel: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRBcvot