On Friday, 28 October, Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, opened the 35th session of the Baltic Assembly in Riga. In her opening address, the Speaker underlined the importance of regional security and emphasized that the Baltic countries should join efforts in this area. Speaker Mūrniece urged the neighbours to intensify the security and defence cooperation, stressing the necessity to strengthen the defence infrastructure of the Baltic states and to implement joint military procurements.
“For a quarter of a century, the Baltic Assembly has served as a reminder that we should seize the opportunities presented to us by our history. Back then, in the early nineties, we jumped to the historic opportunity to free ourselves from the shackles of the empire, the USSR. We did it together. Therefore, today, under the mounting pressure, we must not miss the historic chance to preserve what we have achieved,” said Speaker Mūrniece.
The Speaker of the Saeima underlined that the decisions reached during the NATO Warsaw summit were achieved by all three Baltic States working together. As of now, the Alliance is discussing the deployment of multi-national forces in the Baltics.
Regional security is one of the priorities of the Baltic Assembly, and it requires broad public support. “The Baltic States must focus on strategic communication, as well as join efforts in preventing hybrid threats more actively,” urged the Speaker. Ināra Mūrniece also encouraged the governments of all three states to intensify cooperation between the line ministries. Genuine and efficient cooperation between public media and institutions responsible for the media sector is indispensable.
Addressing the participants of the 35th session of the Baltic Assembly, the Speaker of the Saeima listed transport infrastructure, especially the Rail Baltica project and energy projects, as the second priority for Baltic parliamentary cooperation. Ināra Mūrniece called on the delegates to continue the integration of the region in European energy networks, referring to the planned opening of Latvia’s gas market in spring of 2017 as an important step towards liberalisation of the gas market of the Baltic region.
Congratulating the delegates on the 25th anniversary of the organisation, the Speaker emphasized: “We all have to remember that we are three times stronger when we are united. If there is one thing that we can learn from the history, it is that by sticking together we can overcome all geopolitical challenges”.
On 27 and 28 October, MPs from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania convened in Riga for the 35th Session of the Baltic Assembly 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.
About the Baltic Assembly:
Latvia assumed the Presidency of the Baltic Assembly on 1 January 2016.
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.
Photos from the 35th session of the BA: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/albums/72157672218931763
Video from the 35th session of the BA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAWcQFrpcN0
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Saeima Press Service