EMFA 07.01.2014 No. 5-E
Estonia will be the coordinator of Nordic-Baltic cooperation NB8 as well as the leader of Baltic cooperation in 2014. Estonia will also assume the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States from 1 July. This makes 2014 the year of the Baltic Sea for Estonia and the website http://bsy.vm.ee has been set up for this purpose.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that cooperation between Baltic Sea States is important for Estonia in terms of both foreign and security policy and the economy. “Our economy is and always will be most closely linked to the Baltic Sea States,” he said.
Paet explained that new transport connections, energy and cyber issues are most important for Estonia in cooperation between Baltic Sea States. “Creating better electricity and gas connections between, for example, Estonia and Finland, Sweden and Lithuania, and Poland and Lithuania is important – and development of the Rail Baltic project is also important,” he added.
In addition to the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Nordic-Baltic NB8 and Baltic cooperation, Estonia will also be leading HELCOM and spatial planning cooperation between the Baltic Sea States. The trilateral joint environmental activities of Estonia, Finland and Russia will focus on the Gulf of Finland.
Paet emphasised that Estonia is very interested in the success of regional cooperation and that holding several presidencies at the same time is a great opportunity for the country to coordinate activities more effectively. “Different forms of cooperation have proven successful in the Baltic Sea Region for a couple of decades now and many activities have become well established,” he said. “However, time has moved on, and when we work together we get a better view of the problems that need to be resolved in the Baltic Sea Region.”
- Since 1992 Nordic-Baltic cooperation NB8 has brought together five Nordic and three Baltic countries to discuss both regional and international issues. A number of regular official and high-level meetings in various areas have become established over the years. The last time Estonia headed NB8 cooperation was in 2008.
- The governments and parliaments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania cooperate closely with one another. The form of intergovernmental cooperation is the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Baltic Assembly is the vehicle of parliamentary cooperation. Foreign and security policy, defence cooperation, energy and transport have been the most important topics of cooperation in recent years. Economic cooperation is now largely based on projects established on common interests. Latvia held the presidency of Baltic cooperation last year.
- The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was established in 1992 and its goal is to strengthen and boost cooperation between the Baltic Sea States. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Russia and the European Commission participate in the work of the CBSS. Estonia’s presidency will commence on 1 July 2014 and end on 30 June 2015. Finland is heading the work of the Council at present. Poland will assume the presidency after Estonia.
2014 is Baltic Sea Year for Estonia