Baltic, Nordic and Benelux parliamentarians see a need for closer cooperation during COVID-19 crisis

On 4 September 2020, the digital meeting of the Baltic Assembly, Nordic Council and Benelux Parliament took place.

Parliamentarians of the Baltic, Nordic and Benelux countries discussed the COVID-19 impact on societies and countries. Considering recent events in Belarus and COVID-19, debate was also held about the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

President of the Baltic Assembly prof Aadu Must said: "The Baltic states are slowly learning to live with COVID-19, but there is no good recipe for future waves while numbers of new cases are rising. In March, the Baltic states experienced a shock and failure of cooperation, but countries were able to organise themselves to deal with the situation and give a quick response. Despite many challenges, I believe that our countries are managing the situation quite well and this crisis has brought the Baltic states closer together."

President also noted that during this demanding time there are many challenges on the agenda, but democratic values must be upheld at all cost, being a guarantee of freedom for people and countries. He believes that Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries are stronger together and together they are better prepared to protect common values and being heard on the international arena.

Nordic and Benelux parliamentarians expressed similar understanding about the issues discussed during the meeting. Parliamentarians believe that the Baltic, Nordic and Benelux countries have a lot in common and by working together a better result for all the countries could be achieved.

President of the Nordic Council Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir noted that regarding the spread of COVID-19 Nordic, Benelux and Baltic states face similar challenges in the region, so it is important that countries help each other during this demanding period. President of the Nordic Council indicated the importance of information sharing and cooperation in different areas.

President of the Benelux Parliament Gusty Graas highlighted that the Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries are fortuned to live in democratic countries but that is not the reality for everyone in the world. Grass believes that violence in Belarus needs to be condemned.

Since 2001 the trilateral cooperation between the Baltic Assembly, the Nordic Council and the Benelux Interparliamentary Consultative Council has developed. Parliamentarians of the Baltic Assembly, Nordic Council and Benelux Parliament meet on regular basis to discuss issues of common interest.