The Three Seas Initiative was established as a forum for cooperation between 12 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Three Seas countries constitute almost one third of the European Union’s total area, with more than 112 million people living in the region. The idea of creating a sphere of deepened cooperation, which was named the Three Seas Initiative, was launched in 2015 by the presidents of Poland and Croatia - Andrzej Duda and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. In the declaration adopted at the group’s first summit in Dubrovnik that year, it was emphasized that "the Three Seas countries and their potential create a dynamic region whose development depends, among other things, on the coordination of the entire region’s efforts."
The priority for the Three Seas Initiative is to build a coherent and well-integrated infrastructure in Central Europe that will make it possible to overcome the infrastructural backwardness resulting from geopolitical history. The Three Seas project aims to reduce infrastructural and economic disparities of the common European market, which will limit the division of the EU into less and more developed areas of integration.
The most important added value of the Initiative is that it ensures political support at the highest level of state authorities for investments, which have remained a neglected field in the cooperation of Central European states. The Three Seas Initiative is thus a pro-European project which is complementary to existing formats of regional cooperation.
Building Connections between
North and South
was the motto of the first Three Seas forum in Dubrovnik. This can be said to be the motto that defines the project. The region had previously focused on building infrastructure links across an East-West axis, often leading to Germany. The Three Seas Initiative aims to link up the region from Estonia in the north through Poland to Bulgaria and Croatia in the south. The concept of the Three Seas Initiative does not assume the creation of alternative structures to the existing ones, but aims to implement new ideas that complement the current mechanisms and strengthen the region within the framework of the European Union.
The concept of the Three Seas Initiative was endorsed as "an informal platform to mobilize political support and organize determined action on specific cross-border and macro-regional projects of strategic importance for the countries involved in the sectors of energy, transport, digital communications and economy in Central and Eastern Europe". - Andrzej Duda President of Poland