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Closer to the EU: Connecting Moldova to the Three Seas Initiative

La Chișinău a avut loc evenimentul cu genericul „Mai aproape de UE: Conectarea Republicii Moldova la Inițiativa celor Trei Mări” organizat de Asociația Obștească Parteneriate pentru Noua Economie, cu suportul Delegației Uniunii Europene în Republica Moldova, Europe Café și Ambasadele statelor membre ale Inițiativei.

The event “Closer to the EU: Connecting the Republic of Moldova to the Three Seas Initiative” was organized in Chisinau by the NGO Partnerships for the New Economy, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Europe Café and the Embassies of the member states of the Initiative.

The event presented the opportunities for regional cooperation and the potential of connecting the Republic of Moldova to road, energy and communication infrastructure projects under the Three Seas Initiative. At the same time, guests from the Member States presented the working mechanisms under the Initiative and the priorities of the 9th Summit and Business Forum, which will take place on 11 April this year in Vilnius and where the Republic of Moldova was invited to participate.

Opening the event, Natalia Gavrilița, Director of the Partnership for the New Economy Association said that “Moldova’s participation in this Initiative is a unique opportunity in the European integration process to get closer to our neighbours in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States by implementing joint projects in strategic areas. European integration is the fundamental strategic goal of the country and the desire of the whole society. To us it means economic prosperity, enhanced democratic values, security and a better life for every citizen. The European path we have chosen is not easy, but it is the only path that can ensure the real modernisation of the country we have been seeking for decades and the high living standards for our citizens”.

The Three Seas Initiative is a presidential-level platform of EU member countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The initiative aims at increasing convergence and cohesion, while reducing the economic development gap between different areas and EU Member States, by increasing interconnectivity in the fields of energy, transport and the digital environment. The Republic of Moldova was invited to join as an Associate Participating State at the 2023 Initiative Summit hosted by Romania.

“Most EU countries are small and the economic model of development is based on greater connectivity and openness. Moldova’s expectation from the Three Seas Initiative is to develop its economy through openness and strengthening relations with member states. Attracting investment for much-needed infrastructure projects is also a major goal. Moldova already has several advantages in terms of digitalisation, but we also want to step up cooperation in this area in order to create new opportunities, as the Baltic States are doing, for example,” said Dumitru Alaiba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Economic Development and Digitalisation.

In order to speed up interconnection between Member States, a Commercial and Market Based Investment Fund was created under the Initiative in 2019 to facilitate the financing of joint transport, energy and digital infrastructure projects. The resources of the Fund complement the efforts of national and private budgets, as well as European funds present in the region, thus ensuring investment in multiple projects at different stages of implementation.

“Economic development problems can be much more easily solved with private financial resources supplementing public funds. In the case of the Republic of Moldova, in the context of the implementation of large infrastructure projects and the involvement of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, domestic private resources could be mobilized, which currently do not have great opportunities for investment, except for state securities”, said Dumitru Budianschi, Chair of the National Commission for Financial Markets, who attended the event.

The Three Seas Initiative is a political platform consisting of 12 countries located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. These countries account for 28% of the EU’s territory and 22% of its population.

The NGO Partnerships for the New Economy (PNE) is a think-tank dedicated to promoting the economic convergence of the Republic of Moldova with the member states of the European Union. PNE is an independent non-profit organization that serves as a platform for mobilizing people and developing solutions for a strong and resilient Moldovan economy ready for future challenges.