Officials from 12 Central and Eastern European countries in Dubrovnik on Thursday signed a joint declaration on cooperation in energy, transport, digitisation and the economy.
The declaration was adopted by Poland, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia on the first day of the two-day "Strengthening Europe: Connecting North and South" forum of the Three Seas initiative (countries between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas).
President Andrzej Duda in Dubrovnik
"A policy of tightening ties" is an element that supports European cohesion policy, Polish President Andrzej Duda told a joint press conference with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic afterwards. He added that the aim was economic development and increased competitiveness of the countries of the Three Seas region.
The discussion at the forum on Thursday focused on two fundamental elements: energy infrastructure that will facilitate the diversification of energy resource deliveries, "mutual support in case of crisis situations", and road and rail infrastructure - specific projects like Via Baltica and Via Carpathia, the Polish president said.
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He underlined that the meeting had focused on increased integration with the aim of improving the standard of living in the Three Seas countries and bringing them closer to the richest countries of Western Europe.
"We want to develop, tighten ties, build this common space of cooperation, both economically and in security", President Duda said.
Grabar-Kitarovic pointed out that the Three Seas initiative aimed not to move the region away from the European Union but to level out the differences between the region and other EU member states with a longer history of democracy and a free market.
The two presidents also held bilateral talks during the forum. (PAP)