As prepared for delivery
Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here in Bucharest and speaking to the leaders of the Three Seas Initiative member countries, as well as esteemed guests.
I’d like to thank our gracious host, President Iohannis, for welcoming me and the other members of the U.S. delegation to this summit, and for the opportunity to address you all today.
I would also like to recognize Assistant Secretary of State Geoff Pyatt, as well as Chairwoman Reta Jo Lewis of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., who have been tireless advocates for strong US engagement in the region.
The United States has always been a strong supporter of the ideals behind the Three Seas Initiative; the reality of Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine only reinforces the great value of our work.
The 3SI countries are among our closest allies, partners, and friends. We share common values and commitments to democratic institutions and free market principles. These are powerful ideas and solid foundations on which to expand our cooperation and friendship.
The Three Seas Initiative has always been about more than just investment dollars and economic development, even if that facet remains essential.
More importantly, it is about independence. It is about security. It is about resilience. It is about strengthening the connections between friends, partners, and allies. It is also about looking to the future.
Putin’s brutal war against Ukraine reinforces the strategic importance of the Three Seas Initiative.
Central and Eastern Europe needs secure energy, a robust transportation infrastructure, and strong digital infrastructure to deter and defend against Russia’s aggression. We also need to further strengthen the north-south in addition to the east-west European trade, energy, and transportation network.
We also must continue our strong support for Ukraine, who I appreciate is once again joining us as an observer at the Summit.
Russia’s war helps focus our work on projects and investments that can reduce Russia’s ability to weaponize fossil fuels, food, and other commodities.
Indeed, the war has underscored the importance of diversifying sources, routes, and types of energy. It has also made clear that the clean energy transition is simultaneously a solution to both our climate and energy security challenges.
Clean, secure energy routes and sources across Europe are imperative, and 3SI will be instrumental in achieving it. Accelerating the region’s clean energy transition — including through technologies such as heat pumps, solar, geothermal, carbon capture, batteries, and wind power –brings not only energy security, but also brings us closer to our climate goals.
That is why I am pleased to announce today that the United States Government has finalized a $300 million contribution to finance investments that support clean energy and resilience across the region.
We are also leaning forward with a number of initiatives that strengthen cooperation on nuclear energy, including new advanced nuclear approaches such as small modular reactors.
Earlier this morning, I announced the winners of Project Phoenix, a U.S. Government program to support the conversion of coal plants to small modular reactors, giving new life to existing infrastructure and workforces.
I hope that as we look to the future of the Three Seas Initiative, we can find ways to build upon these promising seeds of a new generation of nuclear energy in the region to help it scale and reach its full potential.
We have the task of engaging on both near-term and long-term priorities, but we also have a set of serious leaders here at the table ready to do both.
It is critical to continue supporting Ukraine’s energy sector as we head into the next winter.
And it is equally critical to make the clean energy and supply chain investments that will help Ukraine, and this entire region, be the master of its own destiny over the decades to come.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to the conversations to come.