We, the Presidents and high-level representatives of the 12 participating states of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) – the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Slovenia – having met in Bucharest on 6-7 September 2023, on the occasion of the 3SI Summit and Business Forum, hosted for the second time by Romania:
a) Reaffirming our strengthened commitment and acknowledging the progress our countries have made in advancing a shared vision for the 3SI as an efficient framework for cooperation to foster our collective strategic resilience and prosperity based on solid and trusted infrastructure networks;
b) Acknowledging the fact that tangible developments in the 3SI region, demonstrated by the considerable amount of public and private investments in the energy, transport and digital infrastructure, since 2016, are concrete proof of the political and economic maturity of the Initiative;
c) Recognizing the region’s economic potential in connectivity infrastructure, industrial policy, diversification and shortening of supply chains and the need to continue the investments using a full range of financing sources including through the national budgets, EU funds and the financial vehicles like the first 3SI Investment Fund and potential Public-Private Partnership, thus confirming the strong political signal aiming at consolidating our economic resilience;
d) Being greatly concerned about the increasing volatility of the security environment due to Russia’s continued unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and its hybrid warfare provoking a chain of disruptive effects at global level, including on supply chains, economic development and energy coherence;
e) Resolutely condemning Russia’s wrongful and irresponsible acts, which put European and global security and stability in jeopardy while undermining the rules-based international order;
f) Highlighting the impact of Russia’s unprovoked, illegal war against Ukraine on the 3SI region, bringing new challenges to the European continent and beyond it;
g) Denouncing the systematic hybrid pressures the Republic of Moldova is faced with in the context of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, including attempts to undermine the constitutional order and virulent destabilizing actions perpetrated by the Russian Federation;
h) Being aware of the need to redefine the relationship with a geopolitically reconfigured European neighborhood as a consequence of Russia’s war against Ukraine, also in the context of the foreseeably enlarged European Union;
i) Acknowledging the Initiative’s strategic role as an established political, economic and connectivity platform for strengthening regional connectivity and building the strategic infrastructure interconnections of transport, energy and digital networks on the North-South axis that are of critical importance for the resilience and prosperity of the participating states, of the region and of Europe as a whole;
j) Recognizing the need to further consolidate and reassert the capacity of the 3SI to effectively advance its shared objectives and seize opportunities for cooperation in new emerging areas within the 3SI pillars in a heavily contested and shifting geopolitical context;
k) Confident that a boosted investment and financial presence of the United States in the 3SI region as well as a coordinated engagement in developing resilient regional infrastructure and critical value chains are catalysts for stronger links facilitating the objective of an enhanced transatlantic partnership;
l) Acknowledging that the 3SI participating states contribute to an effective and cohesive European Union and are a bridge pillar for the European Union Global Gateway strategy to promote sustainable and trusted connections globally and recognizing the potential of achieving a high degree of synergy between the 3SI and Global Gateway projects in the European Union’s neighborhood;
m) Reiterating the commitment to develop the trans-European energy, digital and transportation networks along the North-South axis as important factors helping the 3SI participating states to strengthen the European Union’s Single Market, promote their industrial interests, as well as to achieve greater cohesion and boost their economic growth;
n) Acknowledging the essential role of the private sector and financial institutions in ensuring the success of attaining the goals of the 3SI;
o) Emphasizing that the strengthening of energy security, diversification of routes and sources of supply across the region, deployment of renewables, together with energy efficiency and a just transition to a sustainable and climate-neutral energy sector are our paramount priorities, as reflected in previous Summits Joint Declarations;
p) Welcoming the United Nations General Assembly resolution entitled “Building global resilience and promoting sustainable development through regional and interregional infrastructure connectivity”, adopted on 26 April 2023, which commits all countries to enhance infrastructure connectivity as a means to build resilience to future crises, and encourages the continuation and advancement of regional cooperation in this regard, particularly in enhancing transport, energy, and digital infrastructure connectivity, including through closer cooperation in science, education, technology and innovation fields;
q) Committing to further enhance the role of the Initiative in building regional and inter-regional infrastructure connectivity and, in this regard, developing new and solidifying existing international partnerships, as well as promoting experience sharing;
r) Emphasizing the critical role of infrastructure systems in safeguarding the delivery of essential goods and services and recognizing the need to enhance the adaptive capacity of infrastructure systems and reduce the risk of cascading infrastructure failure in the event of disasters and conflicts;
s) Restating that the 3SI is open to cooperation with non-EU countries who are committed to the fundamental values and principles of the European Union;
t) Recalling the 3SI Summits Joint Declarations and building on the solid results of the previous Summits in Dubrovnik (2016), Warsaw (2017), Bucharest (2018), Ljubljana (2019), Tallinn (2020), Sofia (2021) and Riga (2022);
u) Reaffirming the initial purpose and objectives of the 3SI to support cooperation among its participating states, based on their membership in the European Union, in the sectors of energy, transport and digital, based on consensual decisions of the participating states;
Hereby declare the following:
1. We welcome the high-level participation to the new edition of the Bucharest 3SI Summit and Business Forum of the strategic partners to the 3SI – the European Commission, the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany – as well as of our special guests: France, the Hellenic Republic, the Republic of Moldova, Japan, the Republic of Türkiye, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
2. We welcome the support for the vision and the operational goals pursued by the 3SI from like-minded countries such as France, Japan, the Republic of Türkiye and the United Kingdom and from public and private institutions and enterprises from the 3SI region and beyond.
3. We reaffirm the importance of the Initiative in strengthening the region’s resilience through better connectivity. One and a half years into the brutal war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine and the geopolitical upheaval it generated, the 3SI proved the validity of its concept and the urgency of implementing its objectives.
4. We welcome the Hellenic Republic as the 13th participating state to the 3SI, which solidifies the Initiative and greatly enhances its potential as a platform for improving economic development, transport, energy and digital infrastructure connectivity on the North-South axis and for strengthening the cohesion of the EU.
5. We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, which constitutes a blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, in the strongest possible terms. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, in the face of the devastating consequences of Russia’s war against the country and its people. We reiterate that Russia must withdraw all forces and equipment from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally. We remain committed to providing continued support to Ukraine for as long as it takes. We underline that all those who committed war crimes, and the other most serious crimes, including the crime of aggression in Ukraine shall be held accountable. We are committed to playing a key role in Ukraine´s reconstruction, duly taking into account all efforts at the EU and international level.
6. We also recognize the efforts of the Republic of Moldova in withstanding increasing pressure in a dramatically altered geopolitical and geo-economic reality and welcome this country as an associated participating state to the 3SI, together with Ukraine, and look forward to strengthening and diversifying our cooperation on joint projects to promote strategic interconnection in the 3SI region and with the Eastern European neighborhood and thus facilitate their integration with the EU. We also welcome the granting of the EU candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. We acknowledge Ukraine’s and the Republic of Moldova’s commitment and substantial efforts to meet the required conditions in their EU accession process and we encourage both countries to continue on their path of reforms, including based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission. We will continue to support these countries on their accession path into the EU.
7. We recognize the 3SI’s potential to complement the EU policies in bringing the Western Balkans, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia closer to the EU based on merit and shared values, including by involving these countries in the implementation of the 3SI regional infrastructure projects, thus investing in interconnectivity, extending of EU energy, transport, digital and telecommunication corridors, and accelerating the green transition. We also welcome the granting of the EU candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the holding of the first Intergovernmental Conferences with Albania and North Macedonia. We reiterate a strong message of support and encouragement to the EU aspirants for continued reforms on the EU path.
8. We emphasize the importance of developing cooperation within the Initiative with the strategic partners: the European Commission, the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, and encourage their increased role in achieving the shared goals of the Initiative. From this perspective, we reiterate our determination to act in full synergy with the EU’s key strategies such as Economic Security Strategy, Green Deal Industrial Strategy, Digital Decade and Global Gateway, as well as to stay committed to the primary objective of strengthening the transatlantic partnership, as a means to further consolidating the Initiative.
9. We reaffirm that strengthening the infrastructure resilience of dual-use infrastructure in the region for enhanced civilian and military mobility on the North-South axis, in line with the EU Action Plan on Military Mobility, represents a political goal, as well as a responsible investment into our secure future.
10. We welcome the revised 3SI short list of priority interconnection projects in the three key areas – transport, energy and digital – with the objective to streamline the political support for these projects, including at the EU level. The Projects Progress Report 2023 provides a transparent platform and highlights 102 3SI Priority Projects.
11. We emphasize that the financial involvement and support of the United States in the implementation of strategic regional connectivity projects is essential in the current geopolitical environment, acting as a crucial enabler for the success of strategic connectivity, energy diversification and the overall achievement of the 3SI objectives.
12. We continue encouraging the strategic partners, interested governments, development banks, international financial institutions and private investors to share the objectives and political vision and goals of the Initiative to support the funding of the 3SI strategic projects. We invite all interested stakeholders to cooperate in attracting the financial means required for the implementation of these projects.
13. We welcome the involvement, support and interest from the European and international institutions and organisations, namely the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in the 3SI activities, including through their high-level participation to the 2023 Bucharest Summit, and agree to continue working on innovative solutions for blending funding to support the major infrastructure development needed in the region.
14. We support the objective of the fifth edition of the 3SI Business Forum – now evolved into a pivotal instrument of the Initiative, after its launching in the framework of the 2018 Bucharest Summit – to promote new investment opportunities, thus sustaining the achievement of the political key goals of the 3SI.
15. We are pleased to notice that the 3SI Investment Fund (3SIIF) has made new investment allocations to infrastructure projects in 3SI countries such as the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Poland and Romania.
16. We salute the dynamic evolution of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, which, at exceptional speed, three years after becoming operational has invested in energy, digital and transportation sectors into the Three Seas region, proving its capability to develop projects that contribute to increase of renewable capacity in the regional energy mix, enhance the security and independence of energy supply, as well as digital and transportation interconnectivity in the Three Seas region. The 3SIIF has so far supported 5 projects, of approximate value of EUR 6 billion, with up to 2 more projects soon to be revealed.
17. We acknowledge the existence of numerous attractive investment opportunities in the pipeline of the 3SIIF and the success of the initial investment fund. We strongly encourage the creation of a succeeding financial vehicle based on the success of its predecessor and other core sponsors of the 3SIIF to join, as a swift action to mitigate the macro-economic challenges in the region, directing investments into a focused green-oriented successor infrastructure fund and continuing to drive resources for the financing of such a vast pipeline of projects across the 3SI region. We also acknowledge the intention to launch a 3SI Innovation Fund that could address the rising needs for investments in cross-border innovative projects, deploy more investments in technological advancements and strengthen the innovation ecosystem of the whole 3SI region, in line with the European priorities for sustainable and technologically advanced economic transition.
18. We reaffirm our commitment to work together for connectivity in science, education, technology and innovation to provide more sustainable future development for the Three Seas Initiative region.
19. We express our readiness to develop innovative projects for a resilient regional infrastructure including with the special guests as well as to contribute on a voluntary basis to the funding of technologies and deployment of renewables, as reflected in previous Summits Joint Declarations.
20. We commit ourselves to strengthening our region’s cyber resilience and cybersecurity in support of developing strategic infrastructure interconnections and digital networks and services amongst our countries, through increased cooperation and fostering the active involvement of multi-stakeholders, trusted supply-chain participants and providers of services, especially local ones. Within this process, we will actively uphold and promote the principles of an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment and the rules, norms and principles of responsible state conduct in cyberspace.
21. We welcome the commitment of the Republic of Lithuania to host the next 3SI Summit and Business Forum in 2024 and of Hungary to host the Summit and Business Forum in 2025.
Photo: Marek Borawski, Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland