US supports Poland in Three Seas Initiative

President Andrzej Duda during the first Three Seas Initiative summit, Dubrovnik, August 2016 Jacek Turczyk / PAP

As Poland gears up for the next Three Seas Initiative summit, the United States has reiterated its support for the initiative, which brings together twelve countries in Central and Eastern Europe. At the Initiative’s third summit, which will be held in Bucharest this autumn, the Americans will support the initiative again, reports, citing a senior official at the US Department of State.

A Polish-Croatian idea, the Three Seas Initiative provides a forum for countries located around the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea, stretching from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south. The initiative seeks to strengthen links in Central and Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on the north-south axis, which has previously been neglected. In a joint statement adopted at the initiative’s first summit, held in Dubrovnik in August 2016, the countries expressed their conviction that “expanding the existing cooperation in energy, transportation, digital communication and economic sectors, Central and Eastern Europe will become more secure, safe and competitive, thus contributing to making the European Union more resilient as a whole.”

The second, held in Warsaw last July, was attended by US President Donald Trump. “America is eager to expand our partnership with you,” said Trump, addressing the twelve countries’ leaders in Warsaw on July 6, 2017. “We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies and we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy so Poland and its neighbours are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.”

The US’s continued support for the Initiative reflects America’s broader concerns about security in the region – and Russia’s influence. Visiting Berlin last week, Sandra Oudkirk, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy, highlighted that the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany raises intelligence concerns. In this context, the Three Seas Initiative is needed, Oudkirk told in an interview. “Aware of limited financial possibilities, we support projects that connect Europe, rather than divide it,” the Internet portal quoted her as saying.