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 emphasis is on achieving the highest possible level of development and boosting competitiveness, that is the gist of today's conference, Duda told a news conference at the end of a presidential round table debate called "The Three Seas Initiative".

The initiative is an informal one, it does not have a secretariat and it complements the existing initiatives such as the Visegrad initiative. Its purpose is not disassociation from the EU but removing differences between EU members that have enjoyed the benefits of democracy, freedom and free market for decades and those that joined the EU later, said Grabar-Kitarovic.

The presidents attending the round table debate adopted a declaration constituting a political framework for support to concrete projects designed to help Central and Eastern Europe develop to the level of other EU countries.

Concrete projects in railway transport include a Baltic railway, and in road transport the Via Baltica and Via Karpatia projects, said Duda.

LNG terminals are designed to diversify energy sources so that Central and Eastern Europe do not depend on Russian energy products, and there are plans to link the Polish terminal with the LNG terminal on Krk, Croatia, said Duda.

The two countries made decisions on the construction of LNG terminals at the same time, yet the Polish terminal is operational today while in Croatia the terminal on Krk is still being discussed, said Grabar-Kitarovic.

Another specific project in Croatia discussed at the conference was the construction of a lowland railway from Rijeka to Budapest, she said.

The presidents attending the Dubrovnik conference agreed that greater cohesion between the 12 BABS countries could help create new development opportunities in the EU's next budget framework for the period 2021-2027 in the form of an Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea INTERREG programme.

The Dubrovnik conference also discussed challenges faced by the EU such as Brexit and global challenges such as the migrant crisis, security and Russia's influence.

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