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Photo: Markku Pajunen, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

On 13 and 14 June 2024, at the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Meeting in Porvoo, Finland, the Foreign Ministers of the Baltic and Nordic countries, Germany and Poland discussed current national and regional challenges and ways to address them effectively, including within the CBSS framework. The Ministers also discussed potential tools to counter Russia’s hybrid threats in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as the countries’ options to improve crisis preparedness and resilience. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Baiba Braže stressed the need for the region to work more closely together to address hybrid threats and opportunities to circumvent sanctions against Russia, including the elimination of Russia’s “shadow fleet”.

“These are not “shadow fleets” because they are visible and known. The “shadow fleet” in the Baltic Sea poses both security and environmental risks and is a geopolitical threat in general, which is why the EU, together with its transatlantic partners, must start to introduce sanctions against the “shadow fleet” vessels, as well as ban refuelling and storage services for Russian oil products for the “shadow fleet”. Currently, this is a way of circumventing sanctions and it must be prevented,” said Baiba Braže. 

During the meeting, the Ministers also discussed issues of importance and relevance for the security, welfare and development of the region. All Ministers are united in the need to continue to help Ukraine until its victory. Ministers also discussed priorities for the upcoming Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland on 15 and 16 June and the NATO Summit in Washington on 9–11 July. 

During the working visit, the Foreign Ministers of Latvia and Norway held a bilateral meeting. Baiba Braže welcomed and appreciated the new Security and Defence Partnership concluded between Norway and the European Union. “Norway has become a strategic partner of the EU in the field of security and defence, which is an important long-term contribution to the security of the EU and Norwegian citizens. In the current geopolitical situation, it is of particular importance for the EU to strengthen cooperation with like-minded partners on a global scale. The partnership will strengthen cooperation, for example, in critical infrastructure resilience and the protection of underwater infrastructure. It also provides for practical cooperation in areas such as cyber security and the fight against foreign interference in democratic processes, including disinformation. The new partnership also includes cooperation on supporting Ukraine,” explains Baiba Braže. 

The Ministers also discussed strategic and practical issues on the future development and organisation of the work of the CBSS, strengthening the role of this format for effective political dialogue on issues of regional importance, in particular on security and defence issues. 

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Porvoo was hosted by Finland as the Presidency of the Council. Ministers congratulated Finland on the successful conclusion of the CBSS Presidency and its contribution to implementing the priorities of the Presidency – comprehensive security, crisis preparedness and resilience, focusing on civil protection, including early warning systems, civil protection in the context of climate change, cross-border information exchange, combatting violence against children and trafficking of children, as well as Ukrainian refugees. 

The participants, together with representatives of the CBSS Youth Forum, shared their views on youth involvement in policy processes, highlighting the role of young people in policymaking and in strengthening European identity.

At the end of the meeting, a joint declaration was adopted

Background information

13.-14.06.2024. Ārlietu ministres Baibas Bražes darba vizīte Somijā