On 9 February in Vilnius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis and Secretary General for the Nordic Council of Ministers Halldór Ásgrímsson discussed the future of the Nordic-Baltic partnership, the new guidelines for the Baltic-Nordic cooperation that are currently being drafted and should enter into force after the expiry of the current ones in 2013.
Following the guidelines, the Baltic and Nordic countries are participating in joint programmes for the cooperation of representatives from civil service, environment protection, educational, academic, business and non-governmental organizations, artists and other specialists.
Each year the Nordic Council of Ministers allocates about 10 percent of its budget for cooperation with neighboring countries in the region. In 2011, this amounted to 43 million Litas.
According Ažubalis, when developing the increasingly close relations in the region, it is important to embrace areas, experts of which could exchange useful information and knowledge.
“The Nordic-Baltic cooperation aims to make joint effort for better results. Adopting this attitude helped to achieve outstanding economic stability and from then we are moving onward, creating the image of a unified region and establishing its reputation not only at home but also abroad,” Ažubalis said.
He stressed that when coordinating the Nordic-Baltic cooperation (Nordic Baltic Eight, NB8) in 2012, Lithuania aims to strengthen the region’s solidarity, to promote practical cooperation, to carry out a more active dissemination of information and to take steps towards a deeper economic integration.
On 9 February in the evening, Ásgrímsson and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Evaldas Ignatavičius are to open the Nordic-Baltic design exhibition “16 Steps Closer” in exposition hall “Titanic” at the Vilnius Academy of Arts.
The exhibition consists of a number of projects by architects and design professionals from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The projects have one goal in common – a clean and beautiful Baltic Sea.
The exhibition runs until 3 March and is on the foreign ministry’s NB8 agenda. Then the exhibition is to be taken to Estonia and Finland.