The Estonian government on Thursday confirmed the decision to join the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, which will create more possibilities to fund ambitious infrastructure projects in the energy, transport and digital sectors in Central and Eastern Europe. Estonia follows Poland and Romania in joining the investment fund.
Joining the fund is an important step in political cooperation with the United States and other Central and Eastern European Countries, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said according to a press release. The fund will also provide a strong impetus for overcoming strategic shortcomings in infrastructure investments, particularly in domains such as energy security, digital networks and transport links, he added.
"Joining the fund will provide our companies with additional opportunities for raising capital in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Adriatic Sea region," Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said, noting that Estonia could have potential projects in all the focus sectors of the fund.
"Considering climate neutrality targets and the concomitant needs in the energy sector, the modernization of transport infrastructure, including via public-private partnership (PPP), and plans to support the development of digital infrastructure and the export of digital solutions, there is certainly a need for raising capital," Helme added.
Estonia has begun preparations for the fifth summit and third business forum of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI), which was to be held in Tallinn in June but due to the coronavirus pandemic was postponed until October.
"Organizing the summit and business forum in Estonia is an excellent opportunity to enhance cooperation with Three Seas countries," Reinsalu said. "The COVID-19 pandemic and its paralyzing influence on the functioning of societies, the availability of essential products, medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) and the economy in general has further increased the importance of strategic connections."
While the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund has already been founded, substantive investment activities are only just being launched. Poland and Romania are the first two countries to have contributed to the fund with a total of more than €500 million. The U.S. has previously indicated that it may invest some $1 billion in the region, either via or alongside the fund.
€5 billion target
Estonia is to contribute €20 million, which will be made in proportion to other partners according to implemented investments. By participating in the fund, Estonia will have the opportunity to name a representative on the fund's management board.
The fund's overall target is to raise €5 billion. To this end, plans exist to include countries that have not yet joined as well as public investors.
While countries are participating as investors, the fund will make decisions independently and according to economic considerations. The fund will only finance profitable projects, and no non-refundable grants will be issued.
Estonia's shareholding is to be managed by the Ministry of Finance, and the government has authorized the minister of finance to take the actions necessary for the acquisition and implementation of this holding. Estonia's contributions will be managed through instruments allocated from the state budget for financial transactions within the domain of the Foreign Ministry.
Three Seas Initiative
The Three Seas Initiative is a platform that brings together 12 EU member states from the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea regions. The initiative enhances cooperation primarily with the aim of developing energy, transport and digital infrastructure. Objectives of the 3SI include economic growth, energy security as well as a more united Europe.
12 EU member states are currently involved in 3SI: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Key partners include Germany, the EU and the U.S.
Editor: Aili Vahtla