Article by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis, in “Kathimerini” newspaper

Article by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis, in “Kathimerini” newspaper

“The seas that unite us”

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On Wednesday, September 6, I had the honour to accompany the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on her official visit to Bucharest. This visit marks another step in Greece’s concerted effort to systematically strengthen its position and voice in the wider neighbourhood of South-East Europe and worldwide.

This is because, during the visit we will attend the 8th Summit of the Three Seas Initiative, which will be held in the Romanian capital, and we will announce Greece’s accession, as a full member, to this regional cooperation initiative.

So, what is the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) and why is it significant? The 3SI, also known as the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Sea Initiative, is a forum of 12 EU nations located between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas that collaborate to develop connectivity initiatives in energy, transportation, and digital communication. It is an effort to bridge the differences in development between strong and less strong EU economies by upgrading the cross-border infrastructure of the countries participating in it. The members of the Initiative are: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Czech Republic. Germany, the United States, and the European Commission are also active participants in the proceedings as partners. The 3SI is an informal platform, with no contractual or other texts binding on its members, its rules are political, and its objectives are outlined and reflected in the respective Summit Declarations.

Greece’s decision to join the Initiative as the 13th member-state is fully in line with the government’s objectives and priorities, the most important of which are energy security and interconnectivity. Following Greece’s first attendance, as a guest country, at the 6th Summit in Sofia in 2021, at the invitation of the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, the President of the Republic rightly asserted that this initiative contributes significantly to the region’s economic growth and the consolidation of good neighbourly relations while respecting International and European law.

Greece’s participation provides a new impetus to the Initiative by adding a fourth sea, the Mediterranean, as the Aegean Sea connects the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, the Suez Canal is located south of Crete and the Ionian Sea is the southern continuation of the Adriatic Sea. How much clearer could the strategic importance of our country and its key role in the region be? And how much more relevant could the energy aspect of the Initiative be?

With Greece’s participation, the potential for sea and land interconnections increases due to the development prospects of the country’s ports and LNG terminals, particularly those in northern Greece. The Alexandroupolis FSRU, along with the Revithousa SRU and the interconnecting pipelines (Trans Adriatic Pipeline – TAP and Interconnector Greece Bulgaria – IGB) are vital infrastructures for promoting energy sufficiency and security in the wider region of South Eastern Europe, as well as the gradual transition to alternative energy sources with a lower carbon footprint.

Greece is once again participating in initiatives that promote economic growth and cooperation at international and regional level, reaffirming its role as a hub of interconnectivity and a pillar of stability, growth, and prosperity in Southern Europe.” Article by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis

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