RIGA - The Three Seas Region is the economic growth region, said Latvian President Egils Levits, opening the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga today.
LETA learned from the President's Chancery that the long-term economic growth in our region is significantly higher than in other parts of Europe.
"The political weight of our region is also growing. Together with other Europeans we determine what are European interests, what are European values. This has also been clearly shown in the current Russian war against Ukraine," Levits said.
He underscored that the task of the summit is to make the right policy decisions to promote investment in key areas and make the economies resilient and fit for the future.
In his words, the infrastructure needs on the North-South axis of the European Union are still enormous. Stronger digital, transport and energy links along this axis are crucial for the cohesion of the European Union.
"The task of our gathering today and tomorrow in the business forum is to boost our strength in the three directions of our cooperation – energy, transport and digital. Our energy connectivity has to be brought into sharper focus. If the climate change threats have not pushed us to act quickly enough, the Russia’s war against Ukraine did," Levits said.
The president underscored that transportation routes within and throughout the Three Seas region create multiple new opportunities to consolidate our region and accelerate the North and South Axis. The high-speed Rail Baltica that will link us with Warsaw and beyond by 2026 is one of a few examples here.
The current difficulties with exporting grain following the Black Sea blockade also highlight the rail connectivity improvements still to be made in Europe.
The latest digital technologies are of equal importance. Trusted and secure digital connectivity is essential to further growth of our economies, but also critical to our security, said Levits.
"Large infrastructure projects need investors. The Investment Fund was set up only three years ago in Riga to pool resources from the participating states. We look forward to further commitments from governments to the Fund, as well as rising investment by private entities," he said.
| Our needs are still manageable compared with the rebuilding that Ukraine will require after this war has ended – in victory, I am sure. In our Summit discussion today, we will look for the best ways to connect Ukraine with the rest of Europe. I envisage a close partnership, given our neighboring geographical position and our strong common values," he said.
"If a new Iron Curtain is descending, it must land at Russia’s border, not across its neighbors. Today, Europe is incomplete without Ukraine. The European Union has rebuilt Europe after World War II, and after the Cold War. Now it must continue this work for peace and freedom," the president said.