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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 18.07.2018, 19:27

Common issues for common efforts: Nordic-Baltic cooperation

Eugene Eteris, RSU/BC, Riga, 08.11.2017.Print version
The heads of Nordic and Baltic countries governments, i.e. so-called NB8 meeting (5 Nordic and 3 Baltic States), discussed in Helsinki recently common regional concerns regarding security, energy markets, and hybrid threats, EU policies, trans-Atlantic relations, and cooperation with the UN. It seems that more cooperation among the three Baltic States is needed too.

Photo: valitsus.ee

Prime ministers of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia meet every autumn during the session of the Nordic Council, which is also known as the Nordic summit.  The eight countries share the same values, strategic interests, and challenges. “The cooperation between Nordic and Baltic countries is becoming increasingly common and practical, especially in the fields of energy, transport, and information technology,” said Estonian PM, Ratas.

 

The heads of government, ministers, presidents, parliamentarians, official representatives and experts from Nordic and Baltic countries have been cooperating since 1992. As regional relations are tight, no independent organisation has been established for the cooperation among the NB8; however, each year one of the country leads the cooperation; in 2007, the NB8 cooperation is led by Norway.


Vital spheres of cooperation

Cooperation of Baltic and the Nordic countries (NB8) in various international associations is increasingly growing, both in the field of hybrid threats and cybersecurity. Cyber threats and attacks do not discriminate between state borders; hence, the need to be handled globally. “We need to ensure a faster and more extensive information exchange,” said Estonian Prime Minister M. Ratas. For example, Norway has recently decided to join NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn; currently are discussions for participation of other Nordic countries. 


The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats has recently begun operating in Helsinki. At the centre, the combination of security threats is analysed, including the impact of disinformation on democratic processes. NB8-group, as well as other European countries and the USA, are founders of the centers of excellence.

 

At the meeting, the Estonian Prime Minister Ratas gave an overview of the progress in the digital sphere. The EU leaders have streamlined the developments of digital agenda: for example, the commitment to the development of a 5G network in Tallinn and the Tallinn Declaration on e-Government. See: https://www.eu2017.ee/news/insights/tallinn-declaration-egovernment-ministerial-meeting-during-estonian-presidency.

 

The EU states can move forward quickly, as national authorities, entrepreneurs and people trust the digital developments thanks to the fact that the Union pays great attention to cybersecurity. 

 

The meeting’s participants also emphasised the importance of signing the European Pillar of Social Rights at the Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden on 17 November. One of the most important EU tasks is improving people’s welfare and protecting their rights and freedoms. Thus, the unanimous endorsement of the Pillar of Social Rights would be of symbolic significance.  

The participants called upon Nordic and Baltic governments to pay attention to the EU Eastern Partnership issues. Security, economic growth, and well-being of Eastern Partners also help ensure a stronger Europe; this is the reason to support these countries. The EU needs joint activities that visibly and tangibly improve the everyday lives of people there. “We expect courage, resolution, and ambition from all of participants in the Eastern Partnership summit, which took place in Brussels on 24 November 2017,” said Ratas.

 

References: https://www.eu2017.ee/news/press-releases/meeting-nordic-and-baltic-heads-government-focused-challenges-modern-era and http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/home/






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