On 27 and 28 October, MPs from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania will convene in Riga for the 35th Session of the Baltic Assembly (BA) in order to discuss such issues as migration and protection of the external border of the European Union, the demographic situation in the Baltic States, as well as the development of regional transport infrastructure, with a special emphasis on the Rail Baltica project.
In the framework of the session, the BA prizes in literature, science and the arts will also be awarded, and so will the BA medals, which are awarded for special achievements in strengthening Baltic unity.
The 35th Session of the BA will be opened on 28 October at 10:30 am in the Plenary Chamber by Jānis Vucāns, President of the BA and Head of the Latvian delegation, as well as the speakers of the parliaments of the Baltic States: Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima; Eiki Nestor, Speaker of the Estonian parliament; and Loreta Graužinienė, Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament.
“This is a special session in the history of Baltic cooperation, as it marks the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Assembly. Even though this has been a period full of challenges, they have allowed us to develop ever closer cooperation,” President Vucāns said.
“Security and defence, as well as border guard cooperation are only some of the issues that we have been diligently pursuing. We have paid great attention to developing tourism by positioning the Baltics as a single tourism destination. I must also highlight our cooperation in organ transplantation, which has already saved many lives here in the Baltics,” Vucāns said, adding that in future the focus should be on closer cooperation in exploring export markets and attracting foreign investments.
Alongside the BA session, the 22nd Baltic Council, a cooperation platform for parliaments and governments, will also convene at the Saeima. The Baltic Council will be addressed by Jānis Vucāns, President of the BA; Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia; Jürgen Ligi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia; and Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.
Before the commencement of the BA session, on Thursday, 27 October, at 10:30 am Ināra Mūrniece and Jānis Vucāns will open an exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the BA in the Grand Vestibule of the Main Building of the Saeima. The BA anniversary celebration will continue on the same day with the opening of the new building of the Saeima at Jēkaba iela 6/8, including the official opening of the Baltic Hall.
As per tradition, the BA session will be preceded by the awarding the BA prizes to Batic scientists, writers and artists. This year the BA Prize in Science will be awarded to Maija Dambrova from Latvia, the Prize in Literature – to Lithuanian writer Sigitas Parulskis, and the Prize in the Arts – to film director Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, nominated by Estonia.
10:30 Opening of the exhibition dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the BA, Grand Vestibule, Main Building of the Saeima
16:30 Official opening of the 25th Anniversary of the BA and the new building of the Saeima and its Baltic Hall, Jēkaba iela 6/8, 1st floor conference room
20:00 BA Prize Award Ceremony, Ziemeļblāzma Culture Palace (media representatives wishing to attend the event are kindly requested to contact the Press Service of the Saeima by 4 pm on 26 October)
10:30 Opening of the 35th session of the BA, the BA medal award ceremony
11:40 22nd Baltic Council
13:30 Press conference
14:30 Session I: “Migration and EU external border management: new challengers and joint solutions for the Baltic States”
15:10 Session II: “Demographic situation in the Baltic States and state policy for family support: investments into welfare and growth”
15:50 Session III: “Joint actions for the development of regional transport infrastructure of the Baltic States”
16:45 Adoption and signing of the Final Document of the 35th Session of the BA
(all events on 28 October will take place in the Plenary Chamber at the Main Building of the Saeima at Jēkaba iela 11, except for the press conference which will take place in the Red Hall)
About the BA:
On 1 January 2016 Latvia assumed the presidency of the Baltic Assembly.
The Baltic Assembly is an interparliamentary cooperation organisation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania established on 8 November 1991. Each national parliament of the Baltic States is represented in the Baltic Assembly by 12 to 20 members of parliament. It is a coordinating and consultative organisation which has a right to express its opinion to the national parliaments and governments of the Baltic States, as well as the Baltic Council of Ministers, in the form of resolutions, decisions, declarations and recommendations; it also has a right to request the above-mentioned bodies to provide information on cross-border issues that are high on the Baltic Assembly’s agenda.
Saeima Press Service