The Three Seas Initiative summit and business forum which was to take place in Estonia in June has been rescheduled due to the spread of coronavirus and will be held on October 19-20, spokespeople for the event said on Wednesday.
The Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is a cooperation format that brings together 12 European Union member states between the Adriatic Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. It is designed to accelerate the development of energy, transport and digital infrastructure in order to increase the region's economic growth, reinforce its economic resilience and further the vision of an integrated, cohesive and undivided Europe.
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the organizers of the summit are keeping a close eye on developments around the world.
"The spread of coronavirus shows us that countries must be able to work together," she said. "Investments in the Three Seas region will be more important than ever once the crisis has abated. Developing infrastructure in the transport and energy sectors and implementing the full potential of digital solutions will be of critical value in achieving new economic growth," Kaljulaid added.
The decision to reschedule the event was the only one organizers could make in the light of the crisis the world is currently facing. Ensuring people's well-being and safety and contributing to the prevention of the spread of coronavirus are the top priorities at present, the organizers said.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak the #ThreeSeas Summit and Business Forum will be rescheduled to October 19-20, #Tallinn2020.— Three Seas Summit and Business Forum (@3seaseu) March 25, 2020
Our main concern is to guarantee the safety and well-being of everyone involved and to ensure a high level of attendance around the world. pic.twitter.com/p6TtuMuSjG
The summit and forum will draw international attention to questions being asked in the Three Seas region, including what sort of infrastructure investments will boost economic growth in the region; what sort of developments does the region's transport infrastructure need in order to benefit from technological innovation and narrow the gap that still exists between Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe; how can the energy networks of the Three Seas countries be connected to one another and to the rest of Europe; and how can we move towards a single European energy market.
In addition, and specifically, the Tallinn summit will focus on digital themes and smart connectivity.
In addition to the presidents of the 12 nations, those who had already confirmed their attendance of the Three Seas summit and business forum include Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva, United States Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany. Names will continue to be added to the list of attendees over the coming months, as preparations for the summit continue apace.
The 12 countries that have joined the Three Seas format are Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The partner countries of the 3SI are the United States and Germany.
Editor: Helen Wright