Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Prague today to discuss energy policy with Prime Minister Andrej Babis. The visit
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Prague today to discuss energy policy with Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
The visit is the first of a four day trip throughout Central and Eastern Europe, which will, among other objectives, highlight US efforts to strengthen the region’s energy independence. Among the top priorities is the Three Seas Initiative, which aims to increase energy, transport and digital infrastructure connectivity in countries between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas. The initiative is intended to create a North-South flow of energy to counter East-West energy transfers, which benefits Russia and China. Projects include LNG terminals in Poland, Lithuania and Croatia, presumably expanding imports of natural gas from the US.
Although the financial details of the initiative have yet to be hammered out, there remains substantial interest in the region to reduce dependence on Russian energy imports and Chinese investment. Suspicion of US commercial and energy interests (particularly in the Czech Republic) may impede progress, but EU’s change in attitude toward the project in recent months suggests that such differences may be possible to overcome. Expect Pompeo’s visit to demonstrate US economic commitment to the region.
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