Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At the Three Seas Virtual Summit and Web Forum

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  (In progress) — stands for the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression.  We drive economic growth through innovation.  We protect our people.

And our way of life is the envy for the entire world.

Look at the freedoms for which the people of Belarus and Iran and Hong Kong risk beatings and imprisonment.

Look at the countries to which refugees from Libya and Syria decide they want to flee.

Look at the universities to which top students from China flock to study.

No one can dispute this:  Our way of life is synonymous with peace, prosperity, and freedom like none other.  For 75 years, the United States and the free nations of Europe have cooperated to protect that.

That cooperation has endured under President Trump:

Just since July I’ve been to the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, and Croatia – all nations represented here today – not to mention visits to other friends in the United Kingdom and Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy.

Those trips were all about finding ways to work together – on everything from recovering from the pandemic, to protecting our people from the Chinese Communist Party, to making sure energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean is done peacefully and with respect for sovereignty.

Look, I’m with you today – just as President Trump was three years ago – because we can keep winning together through the Three Seas Initiative.

Look, we’ve got real opportunities in front of us to improve the lives of our people.  We must seize them.

We have an opportunity to jump-start growth and attract private sector investment now, while raising living standards for the long term.

Also, we have an opportunity to link together our infrastructure and energy markets in ways that will generate economic security for generations to come.  That’s something that Deputy Secretary Menezes will address later today.

We have an opportunity to keep European nations strong, free, and aligned with the United States, as my country wants them to be.

A well-funded, action-oriented Three Seas Initiative will help achieve all of these shared goals.

Right now, as we sit here, the authoritarians in Moscow and Beijing are dangling infrastructure deals as a way to gain strategic and political leverage over free people.  We’ve seen this with Nord Stream 2.  We’ve seen the crushing effects of Chinese infrastructure deals around the world, from Laos to Montenegro, and to Pakistan.

The Three Seas Initiative matters much more than it would have even five or ten years ago.  It’s so much more important.  The United States does not want to see authoritarian powers again compromise the sovereignty or liberty of our free-world friends.

Indeed, we’ve demonstrated that resolve.  In that same speech in Munich last February, I announced the United States would fund up to a billion dollars in Three Seas infrastructure projects.  Can’t wait to get started on that.

That announcement has helped galvanize subsequent investments and enthusiasm for the very reason we are here together today.

Look, that’s real money for a free future.  The United States has skin in the game, and we look forward to every member of the Three Seas Initiative contributing as well.

In the end – in the end, ultimately, the responsibility for freedom and prosperity lies with you.

The early indications are fantastic.  The early indications are that you’re meeting that moment:

You’ve developed the necessary legal, financial, analytic tools to start making concrete investments.

You’ve created your own Investment Fund, one that is run by a private entity, free of political influence.  That’s powerful.

And almost all the Three Seas countries have already invested or committed to invest in the Fund.

That’s a tremendous foundation.  You have come a long way since the Summit in Ljubljana.  But you must go much further, by the next Leaders Meeting, to make the most of the Initiative’s vast potential.

It starts, as it often does, with more skin in the game.  Those member-states that have not yet invested in the Fund should do so now, and other member-states should make additional investments.

Second, government investments in the Investment Fund are useful, but nothing can match the financial might of the private sector.  You, we, must grow the Fund by attracting private capital and investment.

To do that, the private sector needs a fair and level playing field.  It’s all they ask for.  It’s essential that national policies be as attractive as possible, not favor state-owned enterprises, or put politics in the way of their investment.

I’m also confident that the private investment will increase if we strengthen the antibodies of corruption.  Investors need to see basic protections in place all across the region.  Commit to transparency, accountability, and financial sustainability in public infrastructure, as reflected in the standards of the Blue Dot Network.

On security, the Chinese Communist Party is just waiting to vacuum up your data.  Commit to excluding unreliable vendors from our critical telecommunications, energy, and transportation networks.

To ensure continuity and greater progress between presidencies, you should develop a Secretariat as your face to the world.

And finally – and I think this is what we hope to accomplish during this gathering – words must become action.  Look, I understand you are looking at a number of transnational projects.  That’s great.  I urge you to move the first of them from concept to shovel-ready stages very quickly.  Nothing – nothing can better demonstrate that the Three Seas Initiative is real and moving forward than to translate the concept into reality.

As you move forward, you should know you will not be alone.  America is with you.

First and foremost, our financial commitment remains, and you’ll hear from my colleague, Under Secretary Keith Krach, who represents me on the DFC Board of Directors.

Offers of other forms of cooperation are also on the table.  Let us know how we can help.

We’re proud to be part of this.  We’re proud to assist you because our countries are bound by so much more than fiber optic cables or pipelines or roads.

We stand with our European friends on the mighty bedrock of freedom and democracy, a foundation of friendship now and for the ages to come.

Thank you.

May God bless you.

And may God bless the United States and Europe.

Thank you, Madam President.

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