On 27 August at the meeting of foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland (NB8) in Riga, head of Lithuania’s diplomacy called on the Nordic and Baltic States for greater integration.
“Europe’s ongoing regionalization is beneficial for the European Union itself. The Baltic-Nordic cooperation is the only real opportunity for us to be visible and influential not only in Europe, but also in the world,” Minister A.Ažubalis said.
In Riga, NB8 foreign ministers discussed the report that was prepared by the NB8 experts. The report offers an analysis of the 20 years of experience in the area of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation and recommendations for regional cooperation.
The report formulated 38 specific recommendations on ways to expand and deepen regional cooperation in foreign and defense policies, energy, civil and cyber-security, economy integration, environment protection and in many other spheres.
Head of Lithuania’s diplomacy Audronius Ažubalis expressed satisfaction that even a third of all the recommendations were submitted on Lithuania’s initiative.
“The recommendations that are set out in the report should be implemented as soon as possible. This requires the use of specific tools, such as joint activities of the Nordic and Baltic diplomatic representations, and coordinated representation in political and economic organizations,” the Minister said.
Minister A.Ažubalis encouraged the NB8 ministries of foreign affairs to analyze the recommendations of the Report together with competent ministries at an early date, and to start implementing them in practice, so that the first results could be evaluated at the end of 2010.
“Today we make a new start in the NB8 cooperation, since the establishment of this format in 1992,” Minister A.Ažubalis said.
The NB8 report was prepared by a representative of this year’s Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, former Minister of Defence Søren Gade, and former Latvian Foreign Minister
Valdis Birkavs. This year Latvia chairs the NB8 meeting.
In Riga, Baltic and Nordic foreign ministers also discussed the upcoming annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that will be held in Kazakhstan, the formation of the European Union’s agenda, the reconstruction of Afghanistan’s provinces, and NATO-related issues.
On the eve of the ministerial meeting, a meeting of the NB8 Foreign Policy Directors was held, which was attended by Political Director of Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Eitvydas Bajarūnas. During this meeting, the directions of Lithuania’s upcoming chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were presented and received support from the other seven countries of the region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania