It is the 37th Session of the Baltic Assembly and is discussing current affairs and cooperation of the Baltic States, regional security strategy, common regional gas and electricity market, development of the troubled RailBaltica project, alcohol policy and foundation of the Baltic Culture Fund.
Alongside the Session of the Baltic Assembly, the 24th Baltic Council, a cooperation platform for parliaments and governments, will be convened. Members of the Baltic Assembly jointly with representatives of the Baltic Council of Ministers will evaluate the implementation of the joint priorities of 2018 and define objectives of cooperation for 2019.
During the Session, the Baltic Assembly Prizes for Literature, the Arts and Science as well as the Baltic Innovation Prize will be awarded. Writer Gundega Repše from Latvia was awarded the Baltic Assembly (BA) Literature Award on October 25, which is worth 5,000 euros.
President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Eiki Nestor said in Vilnius at the opening of the 37th Session of the Baltic Assembly that cooperation with countries that shared values was the strongest guarantee for increasing our welfare and for the survival of our nations.
Nestor recalled that the Baltic States had become members of NATO and the European Union over 14 years ago. “Our people believed then – and still believe today – that cooperation with countries that share our values is the surest way to ensure our increased well-being and the future existence of our nations,” Nestor said.
Nestor referred to the Eurobarometer survey published last week, which showed that the support for the EU among the Europeans is at the highest point of the last 25 years. “In studies like this, the Baltic states have traditionally demonstrated a particular trust in the united Europe,” Nestor said.
Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, is in Lithuania to take part in the annual Baltic Council. The Foreign Minister will deliver a statement on what has been accomplished in Baltic States cooperation and meet with his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevičius, for a discussion on the challenges of the present-day geopolitical situation and cooperation between the Baltic States to counter them. The ministers will also share views on the enhancement of security in the region, the development of energy and transport infrastructure projects, Brexit, the Eastern Partnership, and the protection of the Baltic States’ interests in negotiations on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework.
On 1 January 2019, Latvia will take over from Lithuania the presidency of the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers, and consequently the next Baltic Council is to gather in Riga.