RIGA - The Baltic countries must work together to recover from the Covid-19 crisis as soon as possible and ensure the region's sustainable growth in the long term, Saeima Deputy Chairwoman Dagmara Beitnere-Le-Galla (New Conservative Party) said at the 30th session of the Baltic Assembly in Vilnius on Friday.
The crisis caused by the pandemic is another opportunity for the Baltic countries to find ways to cooperate more closely and jointly address this global challenge, said Beitnere-Le-Galla.
"The Baltic countries worked closely together to regain their independence thirty years ago. Today, we are likeminded members of the European Union and close allies of NATO," said Beitnere-Le-Galla, congratulating the Baltic Assembly on its 30th anniversary.
The Baltic countries are characterized by close cooperation at all levels - they are engaged in active parliamentary dialog, ministers and experts coordinate their activities to better represent the Baltic countries' interests in the EU, NATO and various international cooperation organizations and platforms, said Beitnere-Le-Galla.
"We still have a long way to go to make our economies more complementary than competitive," Beitnere-Le-Galla said, emphasizing that the success of the Baltic countries' cooperation could be judged by startups and their contribution to the Baltic region.
She believes that the Baltic countries can present themselves to Europe as an innovative and sustainable region characterized by close electricity, transport and digital connectivity.
"The energy system is one of the preconditions that would give us a good starting position in Europe. We must continue to work on it," added Beitnere-Le-Galla.
The Baltic countries are currently developing, with significant financial support from the EU and taxpayers' investment, important regional infrastructure projects - the Rail Baltica railroad and synchronization of the Baltic electricity networks with the European network.
"It is not enough for the parliaments to take the necessary decisions. It is important to ensure strong parliamentary control over implementation of these projects," which is important for sustainable economic development and growth in the Baltic region, as well as for the region's security, said Beitnere-Le-Galla.
She also emphasized that the future of the Baltic region lied in smart, innovative growth, adding she hoped that next year, when Latvia would take over the Baltic Assembly's presidency, we would be able to give a new impetus to Baltic cooperation in research and innovation.
"We will combine our knowledge and capabilities and work on development of a joint Baltic research and innovation policy," said Beitnere-Le-Galla.