Āboltiņa to Baltic parliamentarians: Cooperation in energy and Rail/BalticRail Baltica project are important both from economic and geopolitical perspective


On Friday, 29 November, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, in her opening address to the 32nd Session of the Baltic Assembly held at the Saeima, stressed that members of parliament of the Baltic States have initiated and implemented several regionally significant initiatives; however they face numerous challenges, including urgent issue of energy isolation which has to be solved. Likewise, the Baltic States have to overcome their internal disagreements and arrive at a conclusion regarding implementation of the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica project because this project is important not only from an economic but also from a geopolitical perspective.  

In her opening remarks, Speaker Āboltiņa expressed gratitude for the condolences the Latvian people have received from their neighbouring countries regarding the recent tragedy in Riga. “This tragedy has already had political consequences, and I hope that the legal ones will follow soon,” emphasised Āboltiņa.

“We have recovered from the economic and financial crisis; however, what is the point of having a high gross domestic product if the living standard of our people does not rise? Public interests cannot be served without thinking of every individual and family,” said Āboltiņa in her address to the Baltic parliamentarians. The Speaker also emphasised that the work of a politician has a very high standard of responsibility, and whether this standard is attained depends on each politician’s own sense of responsibility and decency. “The duty of politicians is to contribute to the well-being of every individual and to work in order to promote the sense of belonging to one’s country and region,” stressed Solvita Āboltiņa. 

When evaluating the Latvian presidency of the Baltic Assembly, Speaker Āboltiņa acknowledged that it has been successful in contributing to the development of many initiatives which have to be continued. These initiatives inter alia include a competitive and innovative approach to the growth of the economy of the Baltic States, cooperation in the use of the EU resources, initiatives in the field of energy, as well as transport projects, noted Āboltiņa. Likewise, work on coordinating economic and tax policies cannot stop, and investments should be attracted by means of joint effort. The Speaker of the Saeima also expressed her gratification about existing cooperation in the fields of health, tourism, education, and research.  Āboltiņa also expressed gratification at the fact that next year two Baltic States will already be members of the euro area, and Lithuania is planning to join the two in 2015. The euro is not only an instrument which contributes to the economic development of the region but also a geopolitical asset which strengthens our political independence, our place in the Western world, and once again testifies that we are a part of Europe, and there is no turning back, said the Speaker addressing her colleagues in the Plenary Chamber of the Saeima. 

Āboltiņa said that the experience gained by the Baltic States in the course of 22 years has to be shared with other countries; she stressed that the Baltic States have to continue supporting Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine, especially in increasing their administrative skills, developing legal sector and civil society, as well as improving the education sector, environment, boarder management and situation regarding migration.

The Speaker of the Saeima reminded her colleagues that next year the Baltic States will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way: “Twenty-five years ago our people joined their hands in the Baltic Way from Tallinn to Vilnius to show the totalitarian regime that we are not afraid, that we are strong and that we want our countries to be independent.” 

Photos from the Session are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157638170901165/
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Saeima Press Service

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