Rumen Radev: Eastern Europe Needs Investment and the Active Dialogue at the Highest Level Within the Three Seas Initiative Is a Message to Business
Developing the transport, energy and digital connectivity is at the foundation of accelerated economic development and achieving a higher standard of living, stated President Rumen Radev at the Three Seas Initiative – Between Geopolitical Confrontation and Pragmatic Realism conference. The forum was organised by the Economics and International Relations Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, where diplomats and leading international relations experts participated. The event was moderated by the director of the Economics and International Relations Institute, Mr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov.
The transport, energy and digital infrastructure in our region is much less developed than that in Western Europe, which is why the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) that Bulgaria will host this year is aiming at changing that, Mr. Rumen Radev declared. The 3SI is a platform for cooperation between 12 EU Member States from Eastern Europe and, according to the President, uniting the efforts of separate countries, our region can be much more effective in its striving towards reaching social and economic cohesion with Western Europe.
According to various estimates, between 1 and 3 trillion Euros are needed to achieve similar levels of infrastructure development in Eastern and Western Europe. Therefore, a balance between the vast needs and actual financial capabilities of the countries in the region must be sought, said President Radev. “Eastern Europe needs investment and the active dialogue at the highest level is a message to business in this aspect,” emphasised the Head of State. The interest of countries outside of its geographic scope like Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Qatar in investment partnership with the 3SI has already been declared.
Mr. Rumen Radev described the business forum to be held within the Summit in July in Sofia as an extremely important tool of the 3SI. The President said that this will give the opportunity for representatives of Bulgarian business to meet global leaders in the digital and energy markets, which will also stimulate the Bulgarian IT industry, digitalisation and the energy sector, creating an opportunity for attracting major investments. The Head of State underlined that this is the why the Minister of Economy was selected as the national coordinator of the Initiative for Bulgaria.
In his speech during the forum, the President outlined the interest of Bulgaria in widening the geographic scope of the 3SI and attracting the Hellenic Republic as a guest at the upcoming Summit. Achieving greater connectivity in Eastern Europe is unthinkable without improving the North-South transport corridors in Eastern Europe, said the President. The Head of State gave the example of constructing new bridges along the Danube River which will promote trade, tourism and transit of goods through our country and will create a new economic perspective for North Bulgaria.
Investments in scientific and educational connectivity are a main factor in achieving sustainable social and economic cohesion within the EU, Mr. Rumen Radev added. The President reiterated that science is a leading factor in developing the economy and therefore must be strengthened as a priority in the regional partnership in Eastern Europe as well. A cooperation agreement between R&D centres in the 12 EU Member States in the 3SI is expected to be signed at the upcoming Summit in Sofia which will give a greater perspective for young scientists to seek intelligent solutions in connectivity.
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