TALLINN - The heads of government of the eight Nordic and Baltic countries met in Stockholm on Oct. 26 to discuss issues including energy security, and the current regional and global economic situation. The prime ministers, representing the so-called 'NB8' group of countries, also reviewed the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held in December in Copenhagen.
Speaking about the preparations for the UN conference, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip stressed that Estonia regards the achievement of the efficient and large-scale post-Kyoto climate agreement as "an important one." Ansip said that "In addition to environmental protection, the new international climate agreement is important from the viewpoint of economic recovery as well." He pointed out that this could be seen as an opportunity to give a new boost to the sustainable growth of the economy, via 'eco-efficient technologies.'
It was agreed that it is important to reach a politically binding agreement on global policy on climate change at the conference in Copenhagen. The system of contributions to the new policy was also discussed, and Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis stressed that the contributions should be based on two principles - the country's financial situation and its CO2 emissions, reported news agency LETA.
During the meeting the leaders, discussing the economies of the region, said that the situation in the Baltic states is starting to improve. Analysis of the efficiency of the measures already implemented for economic recovery within the group of countries was passed around, with further discussion conducted on steps needed for the anti-crisis plan.
Ansip said that during the course of the global crisis, Estonia had been quick to adapt to the new environment. This year the Estonian government has improved its budget position, vis-a-vis tax increases and spending cuts, by 19.1 billion kroons (1.2 billion euros), or 9 percent of GDP. Additionally, the loan burden on the Estonian government is one of the smallest in the region, as well as in the whole of the European Union.
Regarding energy issues, Ansip asserted that the establishment of energy links in the region and the development of a single Nordic-Baltic energy market continue to be important steps for ensuring regional energy security. Progress should also continue in the push for diversification of energy supplies.