President to attend Three Seas summit in Tallinn on Monday

Polish President Andrzej Duda will take part in the 5th Three Seas summit in Tallinn on Monday, according to a communique on the president's website. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most state leaders and the US secretary of state will attend via the internet.

According to the communique, the meeting will be presided over by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit be held mainly remotely," it reads.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev is another foreign head of state coming to Estonia. "Sofia will take over the Tree Seas presidency and will host its next summit in 2021," the communique stated.

The Polish president's chief aide, Krzysztof Szczerski, was quoted as saying that the meeting will also be attended by the Three Seas Initiative's strategic partners, including German President Frank-Walter Steimeier and US high-ranking officials with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. EC Vice-President Margrethe Vestager has also declared to take part.

Szczerski said that it was very important that the summit would be held despite the pandemic. He said that talks of Three Seas leaders were very important in the context of three current external conditions, which could define the future of the region. He added he had in mind the course of the pandemic and its social-economic effects, decisions regarding the future EU's financial framework, and the result of the forthcoming presidential election in the US. Szczerski said that "the Three Seas countries should respond to them in a cohesive way, which will be directed at the Euro-Atlantic unity."

The presidential official added that the Monday summit would be an opportunity to sum up the initiative's achievements, including the Three Seas Investment Fund, the Business Forum, the CEEplus stock exchange index, the Three Seas Business Council, and the preparation of a list of priority projects.

"The Three Seas Fund has been developing dynamically. The summit will confirm its new members," Szczerski said that, as a result, the fund will have nine members.

The summit is expected to adopt a joint declaration, in which Three Seas leaders will state that the Initiative may play a key role in the process of overcoming the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by our part of Europe, Duda's aide said.

He added that Three Seas countries could become an important receiver of investment funds coming from the EU budget for 2021-2027.

Szczerski also said that the Three Seas Initiative was referring to the roots of the EU. "It is like the beginning of the European integration. The Three Seas is also focused on joint actions in concrete economic projects, for instance, transport and energy infrastructure. And this builds cohesion and unity among countries," Szczerski said.

In his opinion, the Three Seas Initiative has potential to repeat the success achieved by the European Union and to be positive part of its further development.

The Three Seas Initiative is a joint project of the Polish and Croatian presidents which comprises Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia. It focuses on cross-border infrastructural cooperation.