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Three Seas Initiative strengthen resilience of our region

Interview with Dr. Ieva Gajauskaite (Military Academy of Lithuania).
The interview was conducted during a scientific seminar organized by the Vilnius University and the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences entitled “The Three Seas Initiative: Transport, energy and digital infrastructure development as a step to strengthen the region’s resilience.

Jędrzej Błaszczak (Project Investigator, Three Seas Initiative Research Center):

How would you assess Lithuanian involvement in the Three Seas Initiative?

Dr. Ieva Gajauskaite (Military Academy of Lithuania):

At first, it started as a mostly political involvement. We were happy to introduce this particular initiative by Croatia and Poland then because we are mainly engaged with our strategic partners in this region: Baltic countries and Poland. For us, that was an excellent new political agenda. But at the same time, it has very critical elements of building the infrastructure and mainly has a lot to do with railways and roads. We saw the possibility of integrating our region far more. The European Union is providing us with structural funds to build critical infrastructure and connectivity that we can use for military mobility and public services while implementing public tasks. And it has a lot of this political agenda, how we see the development of our region in the future, because at the same time, we’re getting structural funds now, but after a couple of years, we will be donors. Therefore, we need to build our economies and our possibility simultaneously to donate and give back.

We can see when we are looking at list of approved project. We can actually see that it all has much to do with the Three Seas Initiative. We have already even concluded some specific initiatives, as we are talking about bilateral relations with Poland. We are happy about that because it brings us energy security, at the same time we are dealing with better connectivity in border regions, for example of the Suwalki Gap.

JB: That’s true. You also gave an excellent speech about the military aspects of our region. Would the Three Seas Initiative complement Bucharest, 9, or are they completely different formats?

IG: We need to connect our agendas to everything because we do not have enough human resources and we do not have enough time to develop those various initiatives. That’s why we are taking a comprehensive approach to everything. It’s better way to create the already-mentioned formats. That provides better resilience for our economy, better resilience for our energy security, and better resilience for our daily lives. Everything, those roads in particular, or particular bridge or LNG terminal, has a lot to do, not only for military security, not just for preparation or conducting military operations.

At the same time, it provides us with some military operations and allows us to be resilient to hybrid threats, for example, in the Baltic Sea region. This is one of the most important things. We need to dive into everything. We are engaging within this region and finding a common way to reverse junctures, which could lead us to a more comprehensive understanding of building critical infrastructure. It makes our region antifragile because we will have a better alternative. If one link is missing, we have an opportunity and alternative to build another.

Of course, it could be different from a business perspective. There are better investments from that perspective, but it has much to do with security. And sometimes you need to invest more for a better future rather than look for this gain of profit right here, right now. In some cases, the Three Seas initiative has much to do with our security and resilience. The result will be the same.

JB: Thank you very much for your time.

Bio: Ieva Gajauskaite holds a PhD in Political Science from Vytautas Magnus university, Lithuania. Her training includes various long-term scientific internships, work at think-tank projects, etc. Her current research projects examine strategic partnerships, foreign interference, hybrid threats, and democratic resilience with a focus on the East Asia and the Baltic States.