Participants in the Dubrovnik Forum on Thursday adopted a declaration supporting concrete energy, transport and digital communication projects to connect Central and Eastern Europe and calling on interested parties from all over the world to join in those projects.
Twelve EU member countries located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas - Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - support "The Three Seas Initiative", an informal platform designed to secure political support and facilitate action in specific cross-border and macro-regional projects, reads the declaration.
The said projects in the energy, transport, digital communication and economic sectors in Central and Eastern Europe are expected to strengthen the competitiveness of the 12 countries' economies and their security as well as strengthen the entire EU.
The Three Seas Initiative is open to partnerships in specific projects with interested countries or businesses from all over the world that are committed to basic EU values and principles, says the document.
In his speech at the opening of the conference, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that LNG projects in Poland and Croatia, once they became operational, would be attractive to international investors.
One of the speakers at the Dubrovnik conference today was also Liu Haixing, China's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of relations with Central and Eastern European countries.
China believes that developing a European north-south corridor based on Adriatic and Baltic sea ports is compatible with China's Silk Road strategy, he said.
US General James L. Jones, president of Jones Group International and President Barack Obama's former advisor on national security, said that developing The Three Seas Initiative had to be a critical element not only of Europe's development but of its security as well.
Jones recalled that Russia used its energy sources today to gain economic influence and strengthen its geopolitical goals.
Connecting Europe's north and south better with energy infrastructure as part of The Three Seas Initiative turns that situation around and undermines a dimension of that strategy, Jones said.
After a round table debate, held on the first day of the Dubrovnik Forum and attended, apart from the presidents of Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovenia, by ministers or deputy ministers from some of the member-countries, the Dubrovnik Forum will continue on Friday with round table debates at the ministerial level.
Connecting the LNG terminal in Poland with one planned on the island of Krk in Croatia is one of the specific projects 12 EU countries located in the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea (BABS) region want to implement in order to boost competitiveness and development, Presidents Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia and Andrzej Duda of Poland said at the Dubrovnik Forum on Thursday.
The Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea region is Europe's "jugular vein" and its development will require 50 billion euro worth of investments, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Thursday while opening the Dubrovnik Forum with her Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, who underlined the importance of energy projects and said that the next forum would be held in Wroclaw in 2017.