Three Seas Initiative
The Three Seas Initiative is a political project of 12 EU Member States, at the level of Heads of State, launched in 2016. It involves Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Currently, the Three Seas Initiative is not institutionalized and has no headquarters or secretariat.
The initiative is being developed as a pragmatic platform for cooperation with the main focus of deepening the integration of the countries of the region between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas and creating greater North-South connectivity between them in the fields of energy, transport, communications, information technology, business.
The objectives of the Initiative are: Economic growth, attracting investment, energy security, geopolitical security, digital connectivity, combating climate change.
The objectives will be achieved by promoting cooperation to develop energy, transport and digital infrastructure.
During the Third Summit of the Three Seas Initiative (17-18 September 2018, Bucharest, Romania), the intention to establish an Investment Fund to finance the approved projects proposed by the participating countries of the Initiative was announced. The formal establishment of the Fund, based in Luxembourg, was announced at the Three Seas Initiative Summit (5-6 June 2019, Ljubljana, Slovenia).
Bulgarian institutions have proposed the following four projects for funding under the TSI: restoration of the design parameters of the Ruse-Varna railway line, construction of a tunnel under the Petrohan Pass, expansion of the gas storage facility in the village of Chiren and construction of the Black Sea Highway (Varna-Burgas).
During the third TSI Summit in Bucharest, the first business forum of the Initiative was held, which is a platform for sharing projects of common interest. A Joint Declaration was signed to establish a network of chambers of commerce and industry of the participating countries. On the Bulgarian side, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry participates in this format of the TSI.
At the initiative of the USA, a new format of cooperation with the TSI member states was launched at the Bucharest meeting - the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation. Bulgaria actively participates in all meetings of this format. Representatives of the Ministry of Energy participate in three of the four working groups on energy cooperation.
On 2 September 2020, two Decisions of the Council of Ministers were adopted which:
- The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Ekaterina Zaharieva, was appointed National Coordinator for the Three Seas Initiative;
- the participation of the Bulgarian Development Bank AD in the Investment Fund of the Three Seas Initiative with a contribution of EUR 20 million was approved.