On 12 March 2019, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andris Pelšs, took part in the annual meeting of the State Secretaries of the Baltic and Nordic countries (Nordic-Baltic Eight, or NB8), held this time in Reykjavik, Iceland. Opinions were shared on regional cooperation, security policy, transatlantic relations, EU-related topics and Brexit, the UN and climate change, as well as the relations of the NB8 countries with Russia and China.
The State Secretaries welcomed the priorities set by Iceland as the NB8 coordinator for this year, namely, cooperation on security, human rights and preventing ocean pollution. In the context of security policy, it was underlined that NATO should continue enhancing its defence capabilities, and the upcoming NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Washington would be a good opportunity for demonstrating the transatlantic link. The participants also noted the increasing importance of the Arctic region from the perspective of the long-term regional security. The State Secretaries stressed that closer cooperation was necessary as concerns timely prevention of cyber threat and hybrid threat.
As the participants discussed Brexit, they agreed that a controlled withdrawal process was needed whilst also being prepared for all possible scenarios. The State Secretaries then shared views on the UN and climate change. They recognised that issues related to the waterbody environment were important for maritime countries; therefore, possibilities should be developed to apply innovative solutions in addressing those matters.
In 2019, Iceland is presiding over the Nordic Council of Ministers and will embark on a two-year presidency of the Arctic Council in May.
Read more about the NB8 format here.
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