Early in February, the United States announced a major commitment to reinforce energy security and economic growth in Central Europe.
“The West is winning, we are collectively winning, we are doing it together, and as a brand new statement today of our support for sovereignty, prosperity, and energy independence for our European friends, I want to announce that through the International Development Finance Corporation and with the support of our United States Congress, we intend to provide up to one billion dollars in financing to Central and Eastern European countries of the Three Seas Initiative,” said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during the annual Munich Security Conference.
According to the think-tank Atlantic Council, the announcement represents the first major commitment of financial support from a country beyond the Three Seas region.
“Secretary Pompeo’s announcement of one billion US dollars for the Three Seas Initiative is a powerful demonstration of America’s continued commitment to Europe,” commented General James L. Jones Junior, Executive Chairman emeritus of the Atlantic Council. “It reflects America’s recognition of the strategic significance of Central Europe as well as Washington’s high confidence in the economic vitality and economic prospects of the Three Seas region.”
The Three Seas Initiative was launched by Central European leaders in 2016 in order to accelerate the development of cross border energy, transport, and digital infrastructure in the region. Members of the Initiative include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania.
The Initiative is intended to help Central Europe overcome an over 500 billion US dollars infrastructure deficit that is a legacy of the Soviet occupation. Thus, the US announcement in Munich is a significant diplomatic accomplishment for Central Europe’s leaders, a “huge success” for the region, as defined by Atlantic Council senior fellow Ian Brzezinski.