On Friday, 10 November, parliamentarians from the Baltic States called on Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to strengthen their strategic partnership in foreign policy, security and defence. Concluding the 36th session of the Baltic Assembly (BA) in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the MPs emphasised the strategic partnership as the priority of cooperation of the parliaments of the Baltic States next year.
"Cooperation in defence is even more important than ever. The current geopolitical challenges demonstrate that the Baltic States need to be united in both word and deed. We need to continue negotiations on coordinated procurement of military equipment, as well as a common system for the management and maintenance of military equipment in the region," said Jānis Vucāns, Vice President of the BA and the head of the Latvian delegation, after the session.
We already have a successful example: joint procurement organised by the Baltic States in the medical sector, which was and continues to be a major priority for the BA. We are pleased that the joint procurement of vaccines has saved almost two million euros for the Baltic States, stated Vucāns.
The parliamentarians of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania agreed to prioritise in 2018 cooperation in the energy sector, building interconnections, achieving supply stability and the development of this sector in the Baltic region. The BA will also focus on the plans of the Baltic States for creating a prosperous and economically united region.
At the conclusion of the work session, the BA also adopted a resolution. It emphasises the need to strengthen the unity and competitiveness of the Baltic States by consistently pursuing a purposeful and irreversible integration into the European transport and energy networks, and welcomes the progress of the Rail Baltica project.
The resolution calls for closer cooperation between the parliaments of the Baltic States, their governments and the Baltic Council of Ministers, by giving specific recommendations on mutual coordination measures in various fields. They cover security and defence cooperation, including the issue of coordinated border management and joint military procurement.
The recommendations refer to cooperation in education, including the issue of automatic mutual recognition of diplomas and degrees in the Baltic States, as well as cooperation in higher and vocational education. The resolution also focuses on the cooperation in healthcare, economy, transport infrastructure and energy.
The participants of the BA agreed for the next assembly session to take place on 25–26 October 2018 in Vilnius. Lithuania takes over the rotating presidency next year, and Valerijus Simulik will be the BA President.
About 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.
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