TALLINN - Estonian President Alar Karis said at the Three Seas Summit in Riga on Monday that Russia's war demonstrates the need to rid ourselves of unwanted dependence and create new energy and transport links.
Karis underscored that Russia's war against Ukraine has sharply pointed out the need to get rid of undesirable dependence and the value of establishing transport, energy and digital links with trusted investments, spokespeople for the Office of the President said.
Leaders of the Three Seas Initiative decided to include Ukraine in the projects of the initiative. Karis said he is pleased that Ukraine has been invited to become a partner to the Three Seas Initiative.
With reference to international infrastructure investments, Karis said that the annual global shortfall will soon exceed one trillion euros.
"This gap will be filled; however, with competition increasing between the influences of authoritarian and democratic states, the crucial question arises -- who will fill this gap and control the infrastructure?" he noted.
It is in the shared interest of the 12 countries participating in the Three Seas Initiative to attract reliable new investment to develop and build transport, energy and digital connections as well as infrastructure on the north-south axis in eastern Europe.
"The Three Seas Investment Fund continues to be our biggest success and our most practical tool. Better connectivity is crucial from the perspective of food, energy and economic security and it is also the basis for military cooperation," Karis said.
The Baltic Sea region currently has few connections with the Adriatic Sea and Black Sea regions, according to Karis.
"Better connectivity means the movement of goods, tourists and investments," the Estonian head of state said. "The appropriateness of the Three Seas Initiative is demonstrated by several states having shown great interest in it. We must use this interest in the best possible way and find a way how to best involve new like-minded states in the initiative in the long run," he said.
The president said that a digital summit is scheduled to be held in Tallinn in October this year, which is planned to foster the Three Seas Initiative by focusing on the creation of connectivity through trusted partnerships.
Karis highlighted the importance of involving private investors from the Unites States in the investments of the Three Seas Initiative.
"The United States' strategic partnership and decision to allocate 300 million dollars to the Three Seas Investment Fund is a valuable contribution to transatlantic integration, trade and security," he added.
One-third of the states in the Three Seas Initiative are directly adjacent to Ukraine.
"We should use every possible way to help rebuild Ukraine," the Estonian president said. "The rebuilding of Ukraine will be a challenge for international cooperation, but it is also an opportunity to make the best use of the Three Seas Initiative. We need to grant Ukraine the status of an EU candidate state -- it will definitely help involve international and transatlantic investors in the rebuilding effort."
The next summit of the Three Seas Initiative will be organized and cooperation between the countries in the initiative will be coordinated by Romania.
On the sidelines of the summit, Karis met with President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen. Topics discussed at the meetings included granting Ukraine the status of an EU candidate state and European security.
A business forum of the Three Seas Initiative will bring together around 500 participants from the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea areas and elsewhere. Some of the more than 100 projects of the Three Seas Investment Fund are related to Ukraine and Moldova. Of Estonian companies, Greenergy, Digital Nation, Estonian Railways, GoFore, Timbeter, Citic Telecom CPC, Maksimi, Startup Wise Guys Foundation and representatives from the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Enterprise Estonia will participate in the business forum.