On 27-28 October 2022 in Riga (Latvia), parliamentarians and government representatives of the Baltic States met for the 41st Session of the Baltic Assembly and the 28th Baltic Council to discuss current affairs and cooperation of the Baltic States in such areas as challenges in international security and defence, regional connections in energy, transport and infrastructure, support for Ukraine and promoting a strong and united Baltic society.
President of the Baltic Assembly Jānis Vucāns informed that the Baltic Assembly worked not only on the agenda but also adapted to the changing and alarming situation in Europe: “We took on the role of bridge between Ukraine and the countries of the Baltic Sea region, the Benelux, the Nordic and other European countries. We explained the situation, fought disinformation and tried to show the war launched by Russia as it is – unprovoked, cruel and a threat to democracy around the world. These negotiations were not always easy, but the ideas in our partner countries are now fundamentally different from what they were at the beginning of the war."
The participants of the Session were later introduced to the programme for Estonia’s Presidency of the Baltic Assembly for 2023. The motto of the Estonian Presidency in the Baltic Assembly will be “Security. Support. Sustainability”. The Estonian Presidency will focus on three priorities: 1) Safe and resilient Baltic States; 2) Baltic cooperation through unity, solidarity and support; 3) and sustainable development of the Baltic States.
Vice Chair of the Estonian Delegation Sven Sester stated: “We are taking over the presidency with a strong willingness to continue building a resilient, safe, reliable, and sustainable Baltic region, which is especially crucial during a time when there is an ongoing war in Europe and democratic values are under threat.”
The Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers signed a joint statement
Alongside the Session of the Baltic Assembly, the 28th Baltic Council, a cooperation platform for parliaments and governments, was held. Members of the Baltic Assembly jointly with representatives of the Baltic Council of Ministers evaluated the implementation of the joint priorities of 2022 and defined new objectives for cooperation for 2023.
During the Baltic Council, President of the Baltic Assembly Jānis Vucāns said that at a time when Russia is waging a vicious and unjustified war in Europe, it is strategically important for the Baltic States not only to provide mutual support and send a united message but also to provide all kinds of assistance to Ukraine, which is also fighting for the Baltic values. "The international community must hear and see that the Baltic States speak and act together as a whole. The time has come when our historical and daily experience is vital for Europe's security and stability. Ukraine and other countries of similar risk look to Europe! We need to maintain healthy anxiety and attention! Even if war has become the new reality in Europe, we cannot accept it as something "normal". We need to work with other European countries to stop the war in Ukraine as well as any further Russian aggression!", he stated.
Minister of Economics of Latvia Ilze Indriksone added that to ensure the highest possible energy independence, the Baltic States should continue to actively work on the realization of joint energy infrastructure projects, including the synchronization of electricity networks of the Baltic States with mainland Europe. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu informed that Ukraine’s victory is the best guarantee of Baltic existence.
Photos of the Session
© Saeima (author: Reinis Inkēns)