The eight foreign ministers of Baltic and Nordic countries agreed at a meeting in Palanga on Aug. 25 's 26 that EU and NATO expansion has made cooperation more intensive among the countries. The meeting of foreign ministers from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Danish foreign secretary highlighted the expanding cooperation of branch ministries and the active debates on closer cooperation between the countries' relevant institutions. Participants of the Palanga meeting also discussed relations with Russia and Ukraine and the situation in Belarus, Moldova and the south Caucasus, as well as prospects of active cooperation and integration in trans-Atlantic and European structures.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development may participate in EU-financed projects in Lithuania, the country's Finance Ministry said on Aug. 31. "We do not rule out the possibility of the bank contributing to large-scale projects financed from the EU's cohesion and structural funds. Everything will depend on what extent the bank's terms and conditions meet the needs of the state," Finance Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said, adding that he met with EBRD representatives to discuss cooperation between Lithuania and the bank. The bank extended $484 million worth of loans to the Baltic country in the period between 1992, when the country joined the bank, and 2004, including $176.6 million worth of loans on behalf of the state and $307.4 million to the private sector and municipalities.