This international conference entitled “GenFree: Three Seas Generation Freedom”, held in Warsaw, brought together a number of prominent politicians, diplomats and business representatives from twelve countries participating in the Three Seas Initiative. The event was also attended by many young people representing the holder “Generation Freedom”. They have the potential to become the biggest beneficiaries of a deeper integration of the region covering the area between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea.
The conference “GenFree: Three Seas Generation Freedom”, organized by the State Foundation of Poland, was opened by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Addressing attendees at the event, he stressed that the Three Seas Initiative is more than just a declarative union of 12 states. More than 112 million people living in the region, with a total area of over one million square kilometers, have great potential, and the future development of this part of Europe depends on harnessing this potential.
The “Generation Freedom” is made up of people born after the fall of the communist regime. No one understands better than young people the nature of civil liberties and access to advanced technologies, since they were not given to them, but constitute the natural environment in which they grew up. I believe that this generation, using the Three Seas Initiative, will ensure the security and prosperity of Europe in the decades to come, ”said Mateusz Morawiecki.
The Three Seas Initiative is the largest and most ambitious geopolitical project in our part of the world. The collaboration currently includes 12 EU Member States located in the area between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea. They are: Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria. Except the last one, all countries were behind the Iron Curtain before 1989.
“Following the transformation of the system, Poland and other states in the region have done an important job in wishing to join the Western system of security and economic cooperation as soon as possible. By focusing on integration with NATO and the EU, we set aside regional relations. Today we have to make up for lost time, on the basis of our common historical and cultural heritage, ”explained Paweł Jabłoński, Prime Minister’s representative for the Three Seas Initiative.
In the political discourse, the Three Seas project generally intervenes within the framework of the extension of infrastructures and cross-border links between the countries of the region. The economic aspect of the Initiative is important – the area covering one third of the territory of the EU generates only 10% of its GDP. During the conference, it was recalled that in addition to flagship projects, such as the North-South gas corridor or the Via Carpatia, more than 70 other joint ventures in the field of transport, digitization and energy are implemented.
However, experts stress that the path of real integration of the region can be achieved by fostering relations among its inhabitants. The average Pole knows more about the old EU member states than about the countries that are part of the Three Seas Initiative.
“We want to build roads and bridges, not only in the infrastructural dimension, but also in the human dimension. This will allow us to improve our growth opportunities, bridge the disparities between East and West and show the world the potential of the states participating in the Three Seas Initiative ”, said Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President. of the Board of Directors of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.
Guests of the Conference agree that the Three Seas Initiative needs a story capable of eliciting positive emotions, thus arousing the interest of residents and decision-makers.
“The Three Seas region is full of magical places, unique natural resources, excellent cuisine, interesting towns and precious real estate heritage. International education projects and the development of the tourism industry will establish new relationships, contacts and friendships, which are the foundation of trust and collaboration ”, said Włodzimierz Dola, President of the Polish State Foundation .
Poland has a special role to play in the Three Seas Initiative, as it is the largest and most populous participating country. Solomon Passy, Bulgaria’s former foreign minister, said closer regional ties would strengthen the country’s position as one of the leaders of the entire European Union.
“When, many years ago, I discussed Bulgaria’s future NATO membership with the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, she replied ‘We will take this into account after the accession of the Poland.’ Even today, Western Europe regards Warsaw as the ambassador of the entire Three Seas region. That is why Poland should set the tone and pace for the Three Seas Initiative, ”noted Solomon Passy.
The conference organizer, the Polish State Foundation, prepared a report and a communication strategy for the Three Seas region based on the results of cross-cutting studies. It can be downloaded from the foundation’s website: https://stateofpoland.pl/trojmorze-raport-i-strategia-komunikacji/