On 18 December 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the annual meeting of the Baltic and Nordic (NB8) Ministers of Foreign Affairs held online via video-conferencing to discuss current global and European developments, as well as looking back at the NB8 cooperation in 2020 and to map the plans for next year.
In a discussion on the future of transatlantic relations, Edgars Rinkēvičs noted the need for maintaining a close transatlantic link and underlined the importance of a coordinated approach by the NB8 and the European Union. The Ministers agreed that continued support should be provided to the Belarusian civil society. The Ministers also exchanged views on the current situation with regard to the spread of COVID-19 and health safety restrictions, gender equality issues and Turkey as well as practical matters of future cooperation with the United Kingdom.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, presented the main theme of Baltic and Nordic cooperation in 2021 – the mitigation of the negative impacts of the pandemic, with a special focus on digitalisation, innovation and climate change.
The NB8 format comprises Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. In 2020, the work of NB8 is coordinated by Estonia, which has set the following priorities: strengthening regional security and transatlantic relations including the Eastern Partnership, cooperation on cyber-security, development of the connectivity of the regional transport and energy infrastructure, digital cooperation, climate change and environmental issues, and cooperation in culture and health care. In 2021, NB8 cooperation will be coordinated by Finland.