COUNSELOR DEREK CHOLLET: Hello, I’m Derek Chollet, Counselor at the U.S. Department of State. Today, I’m joined by Latvian Investment and Development Agency Director, Kaspars Rozkalns, to discuss the upcoming Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum on June 20 and 21 in Riga, Latvia.
We’re excited about the opportunities there will be for U.S. companies. The success of the The Three Seas Initiative matters to the United States. The Three Seas Initiative was launched in 2015 as a forum to advance the development of infrastructure in the 12 Central and Eastern European countries in the EU, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
The initiative has three pillars, energy, transportation, and digital telecom. In 2019, the grouping founded the 3SI Investment Fund. The countries have invested over 900 million euros to support regional infrastructure projects under these pillars. The United States has been a strong supporter of the Initiative from the start as we’ve worked with these companies to strengthen their resilience to Russian and Chinese coercion.
In 2019, the United States passed the European Energy Security and Diversification Act which authorizes the United States to finance certain energy infrastructure projects that contribute to Europe’s energy security. We will continue to work with countries in this region to encourage the development of strong energy, transport, and telecommunications infrastructure to ensure security and continued economic development.
Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine has driven home the importance of strong infrastructure to the safety and security of Europe. Countries across the continent have committed to reducing or ending their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Latvia, the host of the Summit has expressed the intention to end imports of Russian natural gas by as soon as 2023.
These commitments have added new urgency to the Three Seas Initiative mission. The countries in the Initiative are also working to strengthen cross-border transportation and communication networks to Ukraine to support the rebuilding of the country and the resilience of the region after the war.
With high-level delegations from all 12 governments at the event as well as Germany and the European Commission, the Three Seas Summit and Business Forum is an opportunity to meet with leaders from this region, discuss projects under development, and highlight what U.S. businesses have to offer. Thank you for your time. I would now like to introduce Kaspars Rozkalns who will provide details of the program.
DIRECTOR KASPARS ROZKALNS: Thank you so much, Counselor Chollet. So I’m Kaspars Rozkalns from the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. And I come here today to just quickly explain what is the Three Seas Business Forum that’s happening in Riga all about? And why would that be important for the U.S. companies?
So obviously, one of the biggest things is going on in the 12 countries is their near border war between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, there’s a lot of geopolitical challenges going on. And Three Seas Business Forum is focusing exactly on them.
One pillar is energy. Therefore, how realistically Europe can be energy neutral. What are the alternative options, that that’s the nuclear way. It’s always only in the green energy way or its combination and where the gas goes. And all these questions will be answered and asked even, maybe more questions on the panels with the decision makers.
What is the digitalization is the next big topic on what truly is digital power? And how to be digital, again, independent and how to create that independence. Is that just independence in the Europe or is that independence in each country or that is actually the more broad independence than we want to achieve?
And the third panel is the transport and logistics, how to use the [INAUDIBLE] one’s approach when we plan the infrastructure for the long time ahead. We only think once and lay in all the needed infrastructure for the next 20, 40, 50 years, or to break out from the pillars and actually have, let’s say, the vision for truly multimodal transport logistics. And again, the investment projects in all of these three sectors are in the Three Seas Business Forum.
You can come. You can see the projects. You can decide. You can hear decision makers. Where are they heading? Where the countries are heading and decide on investment opportunities. And the last panel, the mission oriented approach. This is actually the vision, how to link the vision with the action, how to decide and combine all the investment to be future proof. Thank you very much. And see you all in Riga.