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Lithuania and the Three Seas Initiative in the context of the upcoming 3SI summit in Vilnius

Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski

Lithuania’s success in running the XXXVI NATO summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July 2023[i] has rekindled hopes among the Lithuanian political elite for a similar outcome from the planned IX Three Seas Initiative (3SI) summit on 11 April 2024, also to be held in the old capital city of Gediminas. To host two important political gatherings of leaders from dozens of countries and institutions of the Western world (NATO and the European Union) in less than one year time is something truly exceptional, and the organisational efficiency shown by the Lithuanian state during the NATO summit gives grounds for optimism regarding the event coming up in April. In the period leading up to the 3SI summit, a survey conducted of the degree to which Lithuanian political and opinion-forming elites, including academics, are aware of the Three Seas Initiative showed that the scale of interest in this formula of regional cooperation has gone up considerably. Moreover, there will be a presidential election in Lithuania on 12 May 2024, and it is the incumbent President, Gitanas Nausėda, who has been the leading promoter of the country’s involvement in the Three Seas Initiative; in fact, promoting the 3SI has become an element of his election campaign[ii]. The buzz around the election has further heightened the importance of the Three Seas concept in the eyes of Lithuanian politicians.

Lithuania is one of the founding countries of the Three Seas Initiative, and has participated regularly at 3SI summits since 2015, always at the highest – presidential – level. Yet Lithuania’s intensive involvement in the 3SI began only in 2017, after the Warsaw 3SI summit, where then-US President Donald Trump[iii] expressed strong support for the idea. Washington’s favor offset Berlin’s reluctance towards the idea; up to that point the 3SI had been portrayed in political circles on the Spree and in the German press as ‘anti-European’[iv] and resulting from Trump’s ‘played-out Polish megalomania’[v] (opinions echoed by pro-German Polish politicians and Polish opposition media, even after 2017). Against this backdrop, the position taken by the US emboldened those countries in the region which, being aware of the potential threat posed by Russia, sought to protect themselves by establishing close relations with Washington and counting heavily on its opinion. Lithuania undoubtedly belongs to this group, so it is not surprising that 2017 marked a turning point in its relationship with the 3SI. Vilnius involved itself in numerous Three Seas projects in all three dimensions of the initiative – energy, transport and communications, and digitalization.

On 5 September 2018, Lithuania and Poland signed a letter of intent to cooperate on the technical, legal and political conditions for the future cross-border corridor of connected and automated driving (CAD)[vi], the Via Baltica (Warsaw, Kaunas, Vilnius). On 28 September, Lithuania also signed a similar memorandum of understanding with Estonia and Latvia[vii]. More than a year later, the three Baltic States established an intergovernmental working group for implementing this project, and the group began its work in Vilnius on 14 June 2019. On 28 November of the same year, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland signed the Via Baltica ‘5G/connected automated transport corridor’ action plan, and in 2020 submitted a project to the Three Seas Initiative for the digitalisation of the Via Baltica and Rail Baltica, implemented with the participation of Poland, Latvia and Estonia. The aim is to provide 5G connectivity along those two transport corridors by building a complete mobile infrastructure (channels, fiber optics for transmission, towers, electricity network, etc.) that will result in a system for connected and automated mobility[viii] (CAM)[ix] . Preliminary calculations suggest this project will cost about €27 million in Lithuania alone. The European Commission can provide funding for 30-50% of that cost, but the money has not yet been secured[x]. The Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (FIIT) may also provide some funds, but at the current stage of the project no binding financial decisions have been taken – either within or outside the EU institutions. We will come back to the description of these two projects (Rail Baltica and the Via Baltica) below in the context of all IT the endeavors involving Lithuania.

In addition to the transportation and communication dimension of the Three Seas Initiative, back in 2018 Lithuania submitted a project for the purchase and expansion of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) for receiving LNG in Klaipeda. This was the result of the adoption by the Lithuanian parliament (the Seimas) of a National Energy Independence Strategy in June 2018, which set out priority objectives for Lithuania’s activities on the natural gas market: diversification of the natural gas supply, cost reductions, and a long-term solution to existing problems. In August 2018, the Lithuanian government commission took a decision that paved the way for purchasing FSRUs as the most convenient solution for consumers. Under the LNG Terminal Law as amended on 18 December 2018, the FSRU operator was tasked with purchasing the facility by 24 December 2024; that process is under way. In December 2019, the Seimas approved the provision of state guarantees worth €275 million for loan agreements to be signed between the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Klaipėdos nafta AB (KN), the operator of the Klaipėda LNG terminal. The loans are to be earmarked for purchasing the Klaipėdos LNG floating terminal by 2044 and restructuring its maintenance costs. Following that approval, KN has signed loan agreements with NIB. The investment should lead to an expansion of the Klaipeda LNG terminal, in operation since 2014[xi], thereby increasing Lithuania’s gas import capacity by sea[xii].

In 2020, Lithuania submitted a project to build a 200 MW electricity storage facility. This investment was completed in 2022, at a cost of €104,915 million, from Lithuanian government funds, the Three Seas Investment Fund, and the European Investment Bank’s EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which was created to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic[xiii].

In 2021, guided by the goals set out in Lithuania’s National Energy Independence Strategy and National Energy and Climate Action Plan, Lithuania registered another project under the Three Seas Initiative, this time for the construction of a 700 MW offshore wind farm connection to the continental electricity transmission grid. It is expected to provide up to 25% of Lithuania’s annual demand for electricity, reducing the need for imports. The scope of the project includes building an offshore substation, laying an offshore export cable, and expanding the onshore substation to which the wind farm will be connected. The structure, with a projected cost of €200-400 million, is planned to be built between 2024 and 2028, though financing has not yet been secured[xiv].

In the same year, 2021, a gas-fuelled pilot project was also registered by Lithuania as part of the Three Seas Initiative. The aim is to facilitate the management of renewable hydrogen in Lithuania and the Baltic region and the efficient use of surplus solar and wind energy by combining energy sectors. This should increase the security of the electricity supply in Lithuania and the Baltic region. The green hydrogen produced will be used as fuel in public transportation, such as city buses. Work on the investment began in 2023. The estimated cost is €4.5 million, and funding is expected to come from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)[xv], as well as from the FIIT and the RRF (where the latter is expected to contribute an estimated €2 million)[xvi] .

In 2022, Lithuania made a 3SI submission, corresponding to the project described above, for the construction of a bus factory. The goal is to establish a network of Dancer electric bus service centers in those European cities having the highest sales of the brand’s vehicles, manufactured by Vėjo Projektai UAB in Klaipeda. The expected cost is €200 million. Funds for this project have not yet been secured[xvii].

In addition to the projects it has initiated, Lithuania is also involved in a number of projects within the Three Seas Initative initiated by other countries.

They include:

  1. The GIPL Poland-Lithuania gas interconnector – a construction project submitted by Poland in 2018 and implemented in cooperation with Lithuania. The GIPL is a two-way gas transmission pipeline connecting the natural gas distribution systems of Poland and Lithuania, an investment having the status of a “Project of Common Interest” (PCI), co-financed by the European Union under the CEF and “Trans European Networks – Energy” (TEN-E[xviii] ) instruments. The cost of the investment was €330.1 million (of which €216,087,464 was a grant from the CEF, €70,324,996 came from the national funds of the participating countries, and €43,650,000 came from another financial instrument of the European Union – the Cross-Border Cost Allocation (CBCA)[xix]. The work was carried out on the basis of an agreement between Poland’s Gaz-System, Lithuania’s Amber Grid, Latvia’s Conexus Baltic Grid and Estonia’s Elering, in cooperation with the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). On the Polish side, the project included the construction of the CS Gustorzyn gas compressor station and the modernisation of the CS Holowczyce compressor station on the Polish-Lithuanian border. The GIPL has made it possible to eliminate ‘energy islands’ – regions hitherto not integrated into the Central European and EU energy markets. Thus, the Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Finnish gas systems are no longer cut off from the Polish one- and hence the EU-wide – system. The installation was ceremonially commissioned on 5 May 2022[xx], though in fact it had begun operating four days earlier. It has an interruptible capacity in the Lithuania-Poland direction of 2.4 GWh/h, equivalent to 1.9 bcm3 annually. Full capacity in the Poland-Lithuania direction is 2.6 GWh/h, or 2 bcm3 per year. That capacity was achieved in October 2022 .[xxi]
  2. The Project for the Integration and Synchronisation of the Electricity System of the Baltic States with the European Grids, submitted by Poland under the 3SI in 2018, which Lithuania and the other two Baltic States joined. The aim is to fully integrate the electricity markets of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into the European Continental Grid, based on achieving synchronous operation of their electricity systems, ensuring energy security in the region, and completing the integration of the European energy market. This task has a strong strategic dimension, for up to now the Baltic States have been part of the IPS/UPS electricity system (Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – BRELL), managed from Russia. This project will synchronise the Baltic States’ energy systems with the European continental system, thereby ending Russian influence over the energy sector in the region. Funding for the project is largely based on EU funds. On 19 March 2019, a relevant agreement was signed in Brussels, with the European Commission allocating €324 million of CEF funds to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. €125.2 million was allocated to Lithuania for the construction of the Klaipeda-Bitėnai, Bitėnai-Jurbarkas, Mūša switchyard and Kruonis – Jurbarkas power line. On 2 October 2020, the CEF Coordination Committee provided the maximum possible support (75% of the costs) for the synchronization of the Baltic States’ power grids with those of continental Europe, in the amount of €720 million. The bulk of this funding (€493 million) has been allocated for the Polish-Lithuanian offshore Harmony Link, and €166.5 million for the installation of synchronous compensators in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The remainder will cover part of the costs of modernizing and developing the Polish networks needed for integration into the Harmony Link system. The total amount of co-financing from EU sources was €1.044 billion, with a total investment, including the national funds of the participating countries, of €1.625 billion[xxii] . The investment is expected to be completed by early 2025[xxiii].
  3. The Rail Baltica project, one of the flagship projects (along with the Via Carpatia) of the Transport and Communications dimension of the Three Seas Initiative. This is a joint project by Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, each of which submitted its own plan in 2018 for the section of the route that will run through its territory. A railway line is to be built that will connect Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, with a ferry connection on to Finland. The estimate total project cost is €5.8 billion. So far, the three Baltic States and RB Rail AS have received grants from the CEF totaling EUR 1.15 billion for the construction of the line. Thus, the construction of Rail Baltica is to be financed by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania out of national funds, with the EU co-financing up to 85% of the total cost. Construction is under way, and is expected to be completed in 2028. The cost of building the Polish section of Rail Baltica is estimated at €3.449 billion, with 85% covered by EU CEF funds and 15% by Polish budget funds[xxiv].

Existing and planned transport and communication network of the Three Seas area[xxv]

  1. The Via Baltica project, which is similar in nature to the Rail Baltica project. It was registered in 2018 and will run through the same countries – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It will be one of the most important transit arteries in Eastern Europe. No other transport corridor exists in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for north-south freight transport, and the load on the existing route is approaching the limits of its capacity, threatening traffic safety. The Estonian section of the Via Baltica will involve adding more lanes to the existing TEN-T Via Baltica base network road and converting it into a 2+1 and 2+2 road. This should improve traffic safety by 50%, as well as meet environmental standards (noise barriers, animal fences, ecoducts, etc.). The estimated investment cost for the Estonian section is €605 million, though only 8% of that amount has been secured. Completion is expected in 2035[xxvi] .

The Lithuanian section of the Via Baltica will be 269 km long. It will consist of five major roads of national importance:

  1. A5 Kaunas-Marijampolė-Suwalki from 0 km to 97.06 km;
  2. A1 Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipeda from 102 km to 114.8 km;
  3. A8 Panevėžys-Aristava-Sitkūnai from 7.5 km to 87.86 km;
  4. A17 Paneveh bypass from 0 km to 22.25 km;
  5. A10 Panevėžys-Pasvalys-Riga from 9.1 km to 66.09 km.

The estimated construction cost of the Lithuanian section is €509.5 million. Funding for this is to come from the CEF and Lithuanian national funds. To date, 52.7% of that Mount has been guaranteed[xxvii].

  1. The Via Carpatia, a flagship project of the Three Seas Initiative that will reach beyond the borders of the area. Submitted by Poland in 2018, the Via Carpatia will run through Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Hungary, from Thessaloniki in Greece to Klaipeda in Lithuania, with branches to Istanbul, Constanta and Galati – as well as Kiev, Humania, Odessa and Chernivtsi in Ukraine. The cost of the Polish section of the Via Carpatia (712 km) is estimated at €6.5 billion. The funding is 100% assured, and comes from Polish sources[xxviii] .

Via Carpatia and its branches[xxix]

  1. The Three Seas Region Transport Exchange, a project initiated by Romania in 2018 and involving all the 3SI countries at that time. Its objective is to create a smart digital platform for transport and logistics services transactions in the Three Seas region so that some transport services can be transferred to new routes and haulage companies and real-time monitoring of freight transport expanded to optimise transport services, records of commissions and access to information on tariffs, special services, incident records and transport logs. The estimated cost of the investment is €4.5 million. When completed, it should give employment to 30 people[xxx] .
  2. The Digital Three Seas Highway, a project submitted by Poland in 2018. Up to 2022, all the 3SI countries at that time, including Lithuania, were participants, but the project was put on hold due to Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine. The original idea was to create a common cross-border digital infrastructure that would be resilient to attacks and therefore enhance cyber security. It was intended in particular to enable better and more secure north-south data transfers in the Three Seas region, and to fill gaps in communication infrastructure, including fibre optic infrastructure and 5G technology. It was also expected to be useful in establishing a legal and regulatory framework for hydrogen energy. The region already has experience with this type of construction. Indeed, 2015 saw the launch of the Baltic Highway, a fibre-optic network connecting Tallinn to Frankfurt via Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and Berlin[xxxi]. Polish-Baltic sensitivity to the issue of cyber-security, in turn, has its roots in the Russian cyber-attack on Estonia in 2007 on the occasion of the so-called ‘War of the Bronze Soldier Monument’, an experience that has since been repeated in different places and on different scales, making countries in the area aware of the need to reckon with this type of threat[xxxii].
  3. A digital platform for hydrographic monitoring of the Three Seas Initiative region – a project submitted by Romania in 2018, involving all the 3SI countries at that time, including Lithuania, as well as partner countries Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. The platform, planned to be operated by around 20 specialists, should cost around €2.5 million. Sources of funding for the project have not yet been identified[xxxiii].
  4. A cross-border network of Data Centres, a project registered by Latvia in 2020 and involving all the 3SI countries at that time: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary[xxxiv].
  5. A cross-border fibre optic network, a project registered by Latvia in 2020 and similarly involving all the 3SI countries at that time[xxxv].
  6. The Poseidon (ORLEN Neptun) + HyFly2 (PKN ORLEN) project[xxxvi], the most recent project implemented with Lithuania within the Three Seas Initiative, proposed by Poland during the recent 3SI summit in Bucharest (6-7 September 2023). This is an investment for the construction of a hydrogen connection from offshore wind farms in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the ORLEN refinery in Mažeikiai, undertaken at the initiative of ORLEN Neptun, PKN ORLEN and ORLEN Group. The investment is intended to use surplus capacity from offshore wind farms to produce green hydrogen at the Mažeikiai refinery complex in Lithuania in order to replace the grey hydrogen (produced from gas) used in refining processes. This will also help improve grid balancing, create energy storage opportunities, and contribute to reducing CO2, decarbonising the Mažeikiai refinery, meeting the requirements of the RED Directive[xxxvii], and increasing overall energy security in the region.

As part of the project in question, ORLEN Group intends to build a “Baltic Power” offshore wind farm with a capacity of 1.2 GW by 2026, and to secure five further locations in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea for similar projects in the future. ORLEN Neptun, meanwhile, is involved in the supply chain of offshore wind farms. The company plans to build Poland’s first offshore wind farm installation terminal in Świnoujście by the end of 2024. PKN ORLEN intends to spend PLN 7.4 billion by 2030 on investments that will enable the company to develop in the area of low- and zero-emission hydrogen, based on renewable energy sources and municipal waste processing technology. ORLEN Group’s hydrogen strategy will be implemented in four key areas: mobility; refining and petrochemicals; research and development; and industry and energy. As a result, 10 hydrogen hubs will be established by the end of the decade, and drivers in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be able to use a network of more than 100 hydrogen refuelling stations. ORLEN Lietuva is part of this wide-ranging campaign. It has completed a study of decarbonisation methods for its Mažeikiai refinery. The conclusions state that decarbonisation should be achieved through electrification, and that electricity should be used for new technologies and the production of green H2 . On that basis, a project has been created to build a full-scale, integrated production system for producing green hydrogen and its derivatives based on electricity produced from offshore wind farms. The high potential for electricity production from such farms in the Baltic Sea area, as well as onshore in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, exceeds the energy demand of those countries, which creates the possibility of using surplus electricity to produce green hydrogen. Some of that hydrogen will be used directly to decarbonise industrial processes (e.g. at the Mažeikiai refinery and in the production of fertilisers); in the synthesis process from CO2, some will be converted into hydrocarbons – a clean and full-value substitute for oil and natural gas – and will be used in the petrochemical and refining industries.

The entire investment’s planning process is expected to last from 2023 to 2028, with construction of the offshore wind farms in Lithuanian waters scheduled for 2029-2030 and in Latvian and Estonian waters after 2030. The total anticipated cost is €854.7 million. Sources of funding have not been determined yet [xxxviii].

However, Orlen, the leading enterprise in this project, is being treated by the new government in Poland as a ‘symbol’ of the Law and Justice party, which was previously in power, and as such is being attacked financially[xxxix] . The threat of this powerful concern being broken up into smaller companies, or sold, off is very real, and were this to happen, the above-described investment plans would likely end up being cancelled.

In 2018, Lithuania submitted the Viking Train project, in cooperation with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project froze when war broke out in the region. Originally, it was a joint venture between Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belarusian railways, along with freight companies and the ports of Klaipeda, Chernomorsk and Odessa. The freight route ran from Lithuania through Belarus and Ukraine, connecting a network of maritime container lines along the route in the Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas: Klaipeda – Vilnius – Minsk – Kiev – Chernomorsk and back, with a total length of 1,734 km, which the trains covered in 54 hours. Regular services were launched on 6 February 2003. Checking a train on departure and arrival at the Kena border station took just 30 minutes – made possible by successful cooperation with the customs and border authorities and the installation of advanced 3SI systems. At the ASEM Forum, the Viking project was recognized as the best transport solution, and the European Transport Commission named it the best European project of 2009. As part of the Three Seas Initiative, a rolling stock upgrade was planned, which was necessary to improve the way transport is organized. The cost of this investment was estimated at €20.09 million, with funding for the project to be provided by the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund and other, unspecified sources. To date, those funds have not been secured[xl], and, as mentioned above, the the project has now been frozen.

The above review of Lithuania’s involvement in projects planned or implemented under the Three Seas Initiative gives a logical context and credence to Lithuanian politicians’ declarations on Lithuania’s priorities for the upcoming 3SI summit in Vilnius. Those priorities can be reduced to three main points.

The first priority stems from the current geostrategic situation, unrelated to the Three Seas states’ activities to date – namely, the war in Ukraine. As has been declared in both presidential and parliamentary circles[xli], Lithuania intends for the Vilnius 3SI summit to conclude with further support for Kyiv. Although the Three Seas Initiative is not a platform for cooperation on regional military security, the sheer number of states that form the 3SI, are 3SI strategic partners (USA, EU, Germany), are interested in cooperation with it (UK, Japan, Turkey) or have been threatened by Russian aggression (Moldova, Georgia) make silence on the issue of Russias’ aggression unimaginable – especially since Ukraine itself will be present at the summit as a participating partner[xlii]. Lithuania will probably at least achieve its goal of a declaration condemning Russia and supporting Ukraine. What concrete forms such support could take on within the framework of the Three Seas has not yet been set out in any detail.

Lithuania’s second priority for the upcoming Vilnius 3SI summit is to emphasize the need to expand communication and transport infrastructure in the region – a natural postulate, and one strongly reflected in Lithuania’s activities to date within the Three Seas framework. For, as we know, the 3SI has three dimensions of cooperation: energy, transport-communication, and digitization. As discussed above, crucial projects concerning energy issues (the LNG terminal in Klaipeda and its extension, the gas interconnector at the border with Poland and connection to the electricity grid) have already been implemented or are well under way. The most important transport and communication investments, however, are still to be made, and in addition to their economic dimension, they are also strategically important with regard to defence, since the development of the transport infrastructure enhances military mobility – the ability to move troops quickly. Lithuania is a NATO frontline state that is strongly affected by the Russian threat but has little military potential of its own. Its only defensive strategy, therefore, is to delay an enemy until allied support forces can arrive. This makes transport and communication infrastructure of almost existential significance.

The third priority is to deepen cooperation between the 3SI and Germany. Declarations in this vein made in November 2023 may not come as a surprise, for Germany, despite its ill-concealed dislike of the Three Seas Initiative, has gained a decisive political advantage in the region through a series of diplomatic victories that reversed the weakening of its position that had been taking place as a result of its cocksure attitude in the early months of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine[xliii] . A breakthrough in rebuilding Berlin’s position was the meeting between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington on 2 March 2023[xliv] . This, in turn, was the outcome of the Vilnius NATO summit, particularly well-remembered in Lithuania, at which Germany got its way (Ukraine was not invited to join NATO; there was no denunciation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act; and in a pre-summit declaration, President Biden said that: the next Secretary General of the Alliance should be Ursula von der Leyen[xlv], Ukraine’s membership in NATO will take time, and he would not facilitate its accession to the Alliance[xlvi]). All these were clear confirmation that the US is betting on Berlin as its main partner in continental Europe. Lithuania, fearful of Russia and seeking a shield against it in close cooperation with the United States, could not fail to be sensitive to such signals. The defeat of the United Right government in Poland (on 15 October 2023) and the emergence of Donald Tusk’s pro-German cabinet undoubtedly also favor Lithuania steering a course towards deeper cooperation with Germany. The fact that it is Germany that is the so-called ‘framework nation’ of the multinational battalion battle group stationed in Lithuania as part of NATO’s system of the enhanced advanced presence on the Alliance’s eastern flank is also significant. Obviously, Vilnius takes account of Berlin’s ambiguous behavior regarding the strengthening of the German military presence in Lithuania[xlvii] and the memory of Germany’s pro-Russian stance in recent years; these facts rule out any legitimate suspicion that the Lithuanians’ attitude towards Germany is naïve. Nevertheless, the considerations described above have led the current Lithuanian government to include greater Three Seas cooperation with Berlin among its official priorities for the forthcoming 3SI summit. What the term ‘enhancing cooperation’ means, and what effect it will have on the Three Seas Initiative, which Germany has been reluctant about from the start, are difficult to forecast today – especially in the context of a very probable change in who will be occupying the White House,[xlviii] and the memory of Donald Trump’s 2017 commitment to support the 3SI.

Prof. Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski, University of Łódź (born 1963), is a Polish researcher and an academic lecturer at the University of Łódź (history and political sciences).

Co-financed from the Polish state budget under the Minister of Education and Science program “Science for Society”, project no. NdS/543014/2022/2022, amount of co-financing: PLN 1,500,000.00, total project value: PLN 1,547,200 zł.

[i] See more J. Gotkowska, J. Graca, T. Iwański, K. Nieczypor, M. Menkiszak, Szczyt NATO w Wilnie: przełomy i niespełnione nadzieje, „Komentarze OSW”, 13.07.2023, ss.6. Por.: M. Terlikowski, W. Lorenz, Najważniejsze decyzje szczytu NATO w Wilnie, „Komentarz PISM”, nr 30, 13.07.2023, https://www.pism.pl/publikacje/najwazniejsze-decyzje-szczytu-nato-w-wilnie.

[ii] On the image dimension of the Three Seas Initiative and its Vilnius summit in Lithuanian politics see more: B. Jundo-Kaliszewska, Szczyt Inicjatywy Trójmorza w Wilnie – element public relations Litwy (Komentarz), „Obserwator Międzynarodowy”, 5 stycznia 2024, https://obserwatormiedzynarodowy.pl/2024/01/05/szczyt-inicjatywy-trojmorza-w-wilnie-element-public-relations-litwy-komentarz/.

[iii] Szczyt Trójmorza z udziałem prezydenta USA, Prezydent.pl, 06 lipca 2017, https://www.prezydent.pl/aktualnosci/wydarzenia/szczyt-trojmorza-z-udzialem-prezydenta-usa-plen,648.

[iv] For examples of German views see M. Kośka, Trójmorze: sabotaż w łonie UE czy wsparcie dla wspólnych działań międzynarodowych?, „Forsal.pl”, 14 lutego 2023 r. https://forsal.pl/gospodarka/artykuly/8659914,trojmorze-sabotaz-w-lonie-ue-czy-wsparcie-dla-wspolnych-dzialan-miedzynarodowych.html. Szerzej o stanowisku Niemiec wobec IT i jego ewolucji patrz: M. Dahl, Evolution of Germany’s Stance Regarding the Three Seas Initiative, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 17 (2019), z. 3, s. 65-77. Por.: Ł. Janulewicz, T. Żornaczuk, Germany and the Three Seas Initiative, “Bulletin of The Polish Institute of International Affairs”, no. 120 (1366), 22 August 2019, http://www.pism.pl/upload/files/Bulletin%20PISM%20no%20120%20(1366)%2022%20August%202019(1).pdf.

[v] T. Bielecki, UE patrzy podejrzliwie na trójmorski szczyt Donalda Trumpa, „Deutsche Welle”, 5 lipca 2017, https://www.dw.com/pl/ue-patrzy-podejrzliwie-na-tr%C3%B3jmorski-szczyt-donalda-trumpa/a-39541674. Por.:  G. W. Kołodko, Wbrew racji stanu. „Rzeczpospolita”, 23 czerwca 2020, s.A8 oraz: T. Lis, „Tomasz Lis.”. Ekspert: „Rumuni ugrali w UE to, co my straciliśmy. Trójmorze? Kpią z tego”, „Newsweek”,18 września 2017, https://www.newsweek.pl/polska/tomasz-lis-kampania-nie-poza-granicami-polski-ale-przyzwoitosci/r719lk8.

[vi] 5G cross-border corridors, Shaping Europe’s digital future, European Commission, https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/cross-border-corridors.

[vii]. New 5G cross-border corridors for connected and automated mobility in the Baltics will allow testing of autonomous vehicles, 28 September 2018, Shaping Europe’s digital future, European Commission, https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/news/new-5g-cross-border-corridors-connected-and-automated-mobility-baltics-will-allow-testing

[viii] 5G Cross border transport corridors for connected and automated mobility (CAM) in Baltics (Via-Baltica/Rail-Baltica), Projects, Submitted by Lithuania, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/5g-cross-border-transport-corridors-for-connected-and-automated-mobility-(cam)-in-baltics-(via-balticarail-baltica)-submitted-by-lithuania.

[ix] Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) is a term referring to autonomous/connected vehicles or autonomous cars (vehicles that are steered automatically without direct human intervention). See more widely Connected and automated mobility, Shaping Europe’s digital future, European Commission, https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/connected-and-automated-mobility.

[x] The European Commission, as part of the final phase of Horizon 2020, as well as the next Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF2) for 2021-2027, has proposed an EU-wide allocation of €3 billion to support investment in digital connectivity infrastructure, part of which is proposed for large-scale deployment of 5G corridors including infrastructure associated with road and rail. 5G Cross border transport corridors for connected and automated mobility (CAM) in Baltics (Via-Baltica/Rail-Baltica)….

[xi] On the launch of Lithuania’s first LNG terminal, Litwa. Statek-terminal LNG wpłynął do portu w Kłajpedzie, Cire pl, 27.10.2014, https://www.cire.pl/artykuly/serwis-informacyjny-cire-24/93414-litwa-statek-terminal-lng-wplynal-do-portu-w-klajpedzie..

[xii] Purchase and Expanding of the FSRU INDEPENDENCE, Klaipėda LNG terminal, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/purchase-and-expanding-of-the-fsru-independence-klaipeda-lng-terminal.

[xiii] Installation of electricity storage facilities (200 MW), Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/installation-of-electricity-storage-facilities-(200-mw).

[xiv] Connection of offshore wind farm to the electricity transmission grid of Lithuania, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/connection-of-offshore-wind-farm-to-the-electricity-transmission-grid-of-lithuania.

[xv] See more Connecting Europe Facility, European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, European Commission, https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/programmes/connecting-europe-facility_en .

[xvi] Power to Gas Pilot Project, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/power-to-gas-pilot-project.

[xvii] Development of serial production of M3 class electric buses, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/development-of-serial-production-of-m3-class-electric-buses.

[xviii] See more: Trans-European Networks for Energy, European Commission, https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/infrastructure/trans-european-networks-energy_en.

[xix] See more: Cross-Border Cost Allocation (CBCA), European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators – ACER, https://www.acer.europa.eu/electricity/infrastructure/projects-common-interest/cross-border-cost-allocation

[xx] Polsko-litewski gazociąg GIPL oficjalnie otwarty, 05.05.2022, https://www.gov.pl/web/klimat/polsko-litewski-gazociag-gipl-oficjalnie-otwarty.

[xxi] Interkonektor gazowy Polska-Litwa (GIPL) będzie dostępny dla rynku od 1 maja 2022, Gaz-system, 28 lutego 2022, https://www.gaz-system.pl/pl/dla-mediow/komunikaty-prasowe/2022/luty/28-02-2022-interkonektor-gazowy-polska-litwa-gipl-bedzie-dostepny-dla-rynku-od-1-maja-2022.html oraz GIPL Interconnector Republic of Poland-Republic of Lithuania (submitted by Poland), Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/gipl-interconnector-republic-of-poland-republic-of-lithuania-(submitted-by-poland).

[xxii] Integration and synchronisation of the Baltic States’ electricity system with the European networks, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/integration-and-synchronisation-of-the-baltic-states’-electricity-system-with-the-european-networks.

[xxiii] A. Wolska, Polska i Litwa połączą się energetycznie. Estonia odłączy się od Rosji, „EURACTIV.pl”,  20 grudnia 2023, https://www.euractiv.pl/section/energia-i-srodowisko/news/polska-i-litwa-polacza-sie-energetycznie-estonia-odlaczy-sie-od-rosji/.

[xxiv] Rail Baltica, Projects, Three Seas, Submitted by Lithuania, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/rail-baltica-submitted-by-lithuania. Cf.: Rail Baltica, Projects, Three Seas, Submitted by Poland, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/rail-baltica-submitted-by-poland. Cf: Rail Baltica, Projects, Three Seas, Submitted by Estonia, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/rail-baltica-submitted-by-estonia. Cf: Rail Baltica: Construction of Salaspils Intermodal Logistics Centre within the Framework of the Construction of High-speed Rail Network, Projects, Three Seas, Submitted by Latvia, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/rail-baltica:-construction-of-salaspils-intermodal-logistics-centre-within-the-framework-of-the-construction-of-high-speed-rail-network-submitted-by-latvia.

[xxv] Trans European Transport Network (Ten-T Corridors), Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/3aq81n/transeuropean_transport_ network_tent_corridorsnetwork_tent_corridors/. .

[xxvi] Via Baltica, Projects, Three Seas, submitted by Estonia, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/via-baltica-submitted-by-estonia.

[xxvii] Via Baltica, Projects, Three Seas, submitted by Lithuania, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/via-baltica-submitted-by-lithuania.

[xxviii] Via Carpatia, Projects, Three Seas, submitted by Poland, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/via-carpatia-submitted-by-poland. Cf.: Via Carpatia, Projects, Three Seas, submitted by Romania, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/via-carpatia-submitted-by-romania. See also: K. Zając, Via Carpatia the core of the Three Seas, Polish Institute of Road Transport, 7 December 2021, https://pitd.org.pl/news/via-carpatia-rdzeniem-trojmorza/.

[xxix] Ministry of Infrastructure, Twitter, 6 July 2017, https://twitter.com/MI_GOV_PL/status/882918581712846848?s=20.

[xxx] Transportation stock exchange in the 3SI region, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/transportation-stock-exchange-in-the-3si-region.

[xxxi] The 3 Seas Digital Highway, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/the-3-seas-digital-highway.

[xxxii] J. Jalonen, Dni, które wstrząsnęły Estonią, Eesti.pl, 12 maja 2009, https://www.eesti.pl/dni-ktore-wstrzasnely-estonia-11963.html. Por.: P. Zychowicz, Cyberinwazja na Estonię z rosyjskich komputerów, „Rzeczpospolita” nr 115(7712), 18.05.2007, s.A1 i A6. Oraz: A.R., Rosjanie przyznali się do cyberataku, „Gazeta Polska”, nr 11(816), 18.03.2009, s.15..

[xxxiii] Digital Platform on monitoring hydrographic bases in the 3SI region, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/digital-platform-on-monitoring-hydrographic-bases-in-the-3si-region.

[xxxiv] Development of Cross-Border Network of Data Centres, Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/development-of-cross-border-network-of-data-centres.

[xxxv] Development of Cross-Border Optical Fibre Network, Projects, Three Seas,   https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/development-of-cross-border-optical-fibre-network.

[xxxvi] Three Seas Initiative, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, https://www.gov.pl/web/dyplomacja/inicjatywa-trojmorza.

[xxxvii] Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (the RED II Directive). It sets out the EU’s targets for the use of energy from renewable sources for the period 2021- 2030. It also introduced a number of changes in the area of certification for sustainable biofuel production. These entered into force in 2021. RED II Directive, KZR INiG System, http://www.kzr.inig.eu/pl/news/dyrektywa-red-ii/. For the text of the Directive itself, see Directives, Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, (Recast), (Text with EEA relevance), ‘Official Journal of the European Union’, L 328/82 EN, 21.12.2018, pp.83-209.

[xxxviii] Poseidon (ORLEN Neptune) + HyFly2 (PKN ORLEN), Projects, Three Seas, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/posejdon-(orlen-neptun)-+-hyfly2-(pkn-orlen)-hydrogen-connection-from-the-offshore-wind-farms-in-lithuania-latvia-and-estonia-to-the-orlens-refinery-in-mazeikiai-(proposed-by-orlen-neptun-and-pkn-orlen-orlen-group-poland).

[xxxix] Chcą ściągnąć z Orlenu 15 mld zł. Obajtek zabrał głos. Ma kilka pytań do opozycji, „Money.pl”, 28.11.2023, https://www.money.pl/gospodarka/chca-sciagnac-z-orlenu-15-mld-zl-obajtek-zabral-glos-ma-pytanie-do-opozycji-6968384284772864a.html. Patrz też: Daniel Obajtek: dziś opozycja powoduje spadek wartości Orlenuo ponad 5,5 mld zł, PAP, 29.11.2023, https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/daniel-obajtek-dzis-opozycja-powoduje-spadek-wartosci-orlenu-o-ponad-55-mld-zl. Patrz też: M. Kubicki, „Wyparowało 5,5 mld zł z naszej polskiej spółki”. Nowa minister zwraca się do KNF-u, „Bankier.pl”,  30.11.2023, https://www.bankier.pl/wiadomosc/Z-Orlenu-wyparowalo-5-5-mld-zl-Nowa-minister-zwraca-sie-do-KNF-u-8655637.html..

[xl] So far, the Viking Train project has carried trucks on a ‘Ro-la’ system, (a truck and trailer are carried at the same time). However, this method is inefficient and cost-ineffective. It is better to transport trailers alone (without trucks). But for this, specialized ‘pocket’ wagons are needed. Seven wagon trainsets of 41 wagons each (287 wagons in total) are needed for a regular service running seven times a week. [Not Active] Viking Train, Projects, Three Seas, Submitted by Lithuania, https://projects.3seas.eu/projects/not-active-viking-train-submitted-by-lithuania.

[xli] Conclusions from conversations conducted by the author with the foreign policy advisors of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Tamošiūnienė and Sigitas Mitkus, and with Dr Laurynas Kasčiūnas – Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Defence and Security, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on the Three Seas Initiative. These talks were held as part of a study tour to Vilnius (21-25 November 2025) by a PAN research team implementing the Three Seas Initiative Research Centre project at the ISP PAN under the direction of Professor Agnieszka Orzelska Stączek.

[xlii] Ukraine was granted this status by the decision of the Riga 3SI Summit – 20-21 June 2022. 20-21 czerwca 2022 r. A. Rebelińska, N. Dziurdzińska, Przywódcy państw Trójmorza przyznali Ukrainie status partnera uczestniczącego Inicjatywy, PAP, 20.06.2022, https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/news%2C1255911%2Cprzywodcy-panstw-trojmorza-przyznali-ukrainie-status-partnera. Szerzej patrz: Ł. Lewkowicz, M. Gołębiowska, Po szczycie Inicjatywy Trójmorza w Rydze: nowy status współpracy z Ukrainą i wsparcie Stanów Zjednoczonych, „Komentarze IEŚ”, nr 639 (151/2022), Instytut Europy Środkowej, 24 czerwca 2022, https://ies.lublin.pl/komentarze/po-szczycie-inicjatywy-trojmorza-w-rydze-nowy-status-wspolpracy-z-ukraina-i-wsparcie-stanow-zjednoczonych/. Por.: K. Dudzińska, Siódmy szczyt Inicjatywy Trójmorza w Rydze, „Komentarz PISM”, NR 98/2022, 23 CZERWCA 2022, https://www.pism.pl/publikacje/siodmy-szczyt-inicjatywy-trojmorza-w-rydze.

[xliii] See more A. Eberhardt, A. Kwiatkowska, W. Konończuk (red.), Niemcy wobec wojny. Rok zmian, OSW, Warszawa, luty 2023, p.228.

[xliv] See more L. Gibadło, (Nie)zawodny partner. Wizyta Scholza w Waszyngtonie, „Analizy OSW”, 7.03.2023, https://www.osw.waw.pl/pl/publikacje/analizy/2023-03-07/nie-zawodny-partner-wizyta-scholza-w-waszyngtonie.

[xlv] J. Barnes, Joe Biden pushes for Ursula von der Leyen to be Nato chief, The Telegraph, 4 July 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/07/04/biden-pushing-ursula-von-der-leyen-nato-head-ben-wallace/. Cf: J. Tapsfield, ‘Good news for Putin!’ Tory fury as ‘anti-British’ Joe Biden joins forces with Macron to install the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen as next Nato chief despite her dismal record as German defence minister… after Ben Wallace is blocked from the crucial job, ‘Daily Mail’, 5 July 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12265693/Joe-Biden-backs-EUs-Ursula-von-der-Leyen-NATO-chief.html. Despite reports of Biden’s withdrawal from the declaration, the impression of US support for the current European Commission president, also supported by Germany and France as a candidate for the next NATO chief, remained. T. O’Reilly, ‘Biden Denies Grooming von der Leyen for NATO Secretary in 2024‘, The European Conservative, 6 July 2023, https://europeanconservative.com/articles/news/biden-denies-grooming-von-der-leyen-for-nato-secretary-in-2024/.

[xlvi] Prezydent Biden: nie zamierzam ułatwiać Ukrainie wstępu do NATO, musi spełnić te same warunki co inni członkowie sojuszu, PAP, 17.06.2023, https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/news%2C1586280%2Cprezydent-biden-nie-zamierzam-ulatwiac-ukrainie-wstepu-do-nato-musi.

[xlvii] L. Gibadło J. Hyndle-Hussein, Kontrowersje wokół rozmieszczenia niemieckiej brygady na Litwie, „Analizy OSW”, 4.05.2023, https://www.osw.waw.pl/pl/publikacje/analizy/2023-05-04/kontrowersje-wokol-rozmieszczenia-niemieckiej-brygady-na-litwie. Patrz też: J. Gotkowska, J. Graca, Niemiecka brygada na stałe na Litwie?, „Analizy OSW”, 30.06.2023, https://www.osw.waw.pl/pl/publikacje/analizy/2023-06-30/niemiecka-brygada-na-stale-na-litwie oraz: J. Gotkowska, J. Graca, Niemiecka „Brygada Litwa”, „ANALIZY OSW”, 22.12.2023, https://www.osw.waw.pl/pl/publikacje/analizy/2023-12-22/niemiecka-brygada-litwa. Por.: J. Palowski, Niemcy wysyłają brygadę na Litwę. Znamy szczegóły, „Defence24”, 08.11.2023, https://defence24.pl/sily-zbrojne/niemcy-wysylaja-brygade-na-litwe-znamy-szczegoly.

[xlviii] S. Collinson, Trump’s landslide Iowa win is a stunning show of strength after leaving Washington in disgrace, ‘CNN Politics’, January 16, 2024, https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/16/politics/trump-iowa-victory-analysis/index.html. Cf. G. Langer, Trump tops his opponents while Biden hits a new low in approval ahead of Iowa caucus: POLL 72% of Republican-aligned adults would be satisfied with Trump as the nominee, “ABC News”, 14 January 2024, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-tops-opponents-biden-hits-new-low-approval/story?id=106335244 and: S. Milligan, Trump’s Decisive Iowa Win Tempers Hopes for New Hampshire Surprise, “U.S.News”, 15 January 2024, https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2024-01-15/trump-wins-iowa-haley-and-desantis-battle-for-second.