TALLINN - At a video meeting with the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly on Wednesday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu as this year’s coordinator of the Baltic Council of Ministers outlined the achievements of the first six months of 2020 and upcoming tasks.
Reinsalu noted that regional cooperation has always been a priority for Estonia.
"We have a similar history with Latvia and Lithuania, and we have the same values. We have shared foreign policy objectives and we are like-minded neighbors that enjoy extensive cooperation and active contacts at all levels and in all areas. Our partnership comes naturally," Reinsalu added.
"In the field of regional security and defense, the three Baltic States face similar challenges," Reinsalu said. "Therefore, we have the same understanding of all crucial security issues and we must continue our close cooperation, including on cyber security. The world is more dependent on a stable and secure internet than ever."
Touching on security, Reinsalu also stressed the importance of relations with the United States.
"There is no doubt about the importance of US presence in the Baltic region, and we must continue cooperating to ensure its continuation."
The foreign minister also gave an overview of energy and transport projects.
"Rail Baltic is, without a doubt, one of the largest infrastructure projects of the Baltic States and I am happy to note that the European Commission has specifically mentioned Rail Baltic in its proposal for the next budget period," Reinsalu said. The foreign minister also gave an overview of cooperation possibilities in the development of renewable energy projects.
"The joint efforts of the Baltic States to contain and, in the long-term, fight off the virus led us to a situation where less than a month ago, on May 15, we, the Baltic States, were able to open our borders to each other and create a common area of free movement for our residents," Reinsalu noted. "We also learned during the crisis that holding discussions and making decisions via video conference is a truly efficient way of communication."
Estonia is chairing the Baltic Council of Ministers this year. Estonia's priorities are regional security, including Eastern Partnership, transatlantic relations and cyber cooperation, connectivity, including regional energy and infrastructure projects and digital cooperation, climate change and the environment, and cultural and health cooperation.