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The Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is an economic forum in Eastern Europe that involves 12 EU countries and is designed to promote regional dialogue on shared policy issues. A new report released this week by Brexiteer and Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski said 3SI would an “attractive proposition” and a “great opportunity” for the UK to engage with European partners in a post-Brexit world. 

The 3SI region covers nearly 30 percent of the EU’s territory which is home to over 112 million people across the 12 participating states which include Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia and Estonia.

Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia are also members. 

The report says the 3SI needs “significant political and economic support” from other world leaders with the US currently being a major external partner.

Mr Kawczynski argued engaging with the bloc would “counter the growing influence of Moscow and Beijing in the region in the context of energy security and infrastructure investments.”

 

The report notes Russia’s “growing energy dominance” in Europe via infrastructure projects such as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

On China, the report also stressed it was “important” to consider Beijing’s “economic presence in Central and Eastern Europe”.

Mr Kawczynski’s paper claimed Washington saw 3SI as an instrument that would challenge “Beijing’s rapidly growing entrenchment” in the region. 

It also argues that for Britain’s “new post-Brexit chapter” to “effectively demonstrate its global ambitions”, it must “reaffirm its commitments to Europe” and engaging with 3SI would help to achieve this. 

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The report also argued 3SI’s economic and political dimensions would open the UK’s public and private sector to over 157 energy, infrastructure and digital projects.

It would also provide an alternative to the EU’s framework for cooperation with Britain’s closest allies in Central and Eastern Europe.

The report concluded: “As the international community braces for new economic and geopolitical challenges, pragmatic approaches for regional cooperation and economic growth show promising potential. 

“The new ‘global’ muscle of the UK’s post-Brexit strategy has the ability and determination to recognise these opportunities.

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“Therefore, it is of vital importance for us as UK policymakers to contribute to Global Britain’s strategic direction to ensure her success for the current and future generations.”

However, the report made clear that 3SI was “not an alternative to the EU” or an “attempt to recalibrate or duplicate the current system of the European political order.”

Wendy Morton, Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas, said the UK Government “supports the aims of the Three Seas Initiative which align closely with our own: building back better, addressing the drivers of climate change, and addressing our shared geopolitical challenges.”

She added: “The UK continues to explore options for deeper engagement with both the initiative and its fund, including sharing expertise on areas of UK excellence on digital, infrastructure, and clean energy.”

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