On 16 March in Oslo, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrejs Pildegovičs, took part in the annual meeting of state secretaries from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic and Nordic countries (NB8), at which the officials discussed changes in the regional security environment, joint efforts to strengthen NATO’s defence, and the ways to expand cooperation with Finland and Sweden. Discussions also covered infrastructure development projects which would be instrumental for the full integration of the Baltic States in the regional energy market and a subsequent improvement of energy security.
During the meeting, the state secretaries were introduced to Sweden’s experience of working on the UN Security Council. The participants agreed that a close cooperation in the NB8 format should also continue in future as the countries file their candidacies for posts in various institutions of international organisations.
The NB8 countries have a long-standing strong cooperation with North America, and exchange visits are frequently held. This cooperation is also strengthened through the E-PINE (Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe) format, which helps maintain regular contact in the fields of security and cyber defence.
State secretaries also discussed the future of the EU, including the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and migration issues. The Estonian representative informed the participants that Estonia has set the following priorities for its upcoming presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2017: the development of the European Single Market; cooperation to strengthen European security; digitalisation; and the EU Eastern Partnership. The Estonian presidency will organise the next EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
In order to discuss bilateral relations between Latvia and Norway, Andrejs Pildegovičs had a meeting with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Wegger Chr. Strømmen.
Around 50 consultations at various levels are conducted in the NB8 format every year. Annual meetings of speakers of parliament, heads of governments, and ministers for foreign affairs of the NB8 countries are to be held this coming fall.
This year, the NB8 format is coordinated by Norway, which took the function over from Latvia on a rotational basis. Broader security issues – hybrid threats, cyber-security, press freedom and strategic communication – as well as the EU Eastern Partnership, the situation in Ukraine, and the economic development, competitiveness and innovations in the region will remain important areas for regional cooperation in the future.
In 2018, the NB8 cooperation will be coordinated by Sweden.
More information: Baltic and Nordic cooperation
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