Koper, Slovenia (PortSEurope) June 13, 2019 – On 5-6 June 2019, the leaders of the states participating in the Three Seas Initiative gathered in Ljubljana.
In the margins of the meeting in Ljubljana, a business Forum was held which was attended by more than 600 representatives of companies from the region and beyond. At the Forum, the states involved in the initiative introduced 17 projects from the field of transport, energy, digitalization and innovation that have been placed on a priority list and will be financially supported.
Among them, there also were five Slovenian projects, including the second railway track between Divača and Koper project. Luka Koper identified the business gathering as a good opportunity to promote the port of Koper as a central port for the Central European countries without direct access to the sea. The Port of Koper was the general sponsor of the Forum.
One of the Forum’s panels was dedicated to transport. The keynote speaker at the panel debate was European Commissioner Violeta Bulc who summoned the activities and decisions adopted by the European Commission in the course of its mandate which is coming to an end. The latest developments in the sphere of the second railway project as well as the plans of Slovenia in the field of railway network modernisation and other major transportation projects were highlighted by State Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The panel was also attended by the Czech Minister of Transport Vladimir Kremlik, the Polish Minister of Infrastructure Rafal Weber and the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the US Department of Transportation Joel Szabat. The sector was represented by the director of Deutsche Bahn for Eastern Europe Vincent van Houten and president of the management board of Luka Koper Dimitrij Zadel who both stressed the importance of a safe and efficient transport infrastructure. Zadel also touched on the second railway track project and highlighted its relevance for the further development of the Port of Koper.
The member states of the Tree Seas Initiative taking part at the Ljubljana event decided to set up a special fund that will help speed up the implementation of the selected development projects. Since the said fund is intended to be a complement to the European structural funds, the event was also attended by representatives of development banks, international financial institutions and European Commission.
The Three Seas Initiative is a flexible political platform, at Presidential level, launched in 2015. The Initiative includes the 12 EU Member States located between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The Three Seas Initiative aims at stimulating more rapid development of the region stretching between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. This is to be achieved through both high level and multi-stakeholder commitment to boosting connectivity among Member States, with special focus on infrastructure, energy and digital interconnectivity.
The improvement of the infrastructure connections of the 12 states is an essential condition for building an area of stability and prosperity, which in turn can greatly contribute to wider EU stability and prosperity. Setting a new dynamic of cooperation among the countries lying at the Eastern border of the EU on the North – South Axis will advance economic growth and help to bridge the East – West economic gap, within the EU.
The overarching pillars of the Three Seas Initiative are threefold – economic development, European cohesion and transatlantic ties.
Firstly, the Initiative seeks to contribute to the economic development of the Central and Eastern Europe through infrastructure connectivity, mainly, but not only on the North-South axis, in three main fields — transport, energy and digital.
The second objective is to increase real convergence among EU Member States, thereby contributing to enhanced unity and cohesion within the EU. This allows avoiding artificial East-West divides and further stimulate EU integration.
Thirdly, the Initiative is intended to contribute to the strengthening of transatlantic ties. The US economic presence in the region provides a catalyst for an enhanced transatlantic partnership.
Source: Lula Koper