Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius says he is convinced that the Baltic States are able to move to long-term strategic planning as the economic crisis nears its end, reports ELTA. “This informal meeting of the prime ministers shows the tasks of crisis management have already been completed in our country. We can move to long-term strategic planning and agree on essential solutions to the challenges of the vision of the Baltic-Nordic region until 2020,” he said at a news conference after the informal meeting of the prime ministers of the Baltic Council of Ministers in Latvia last week. Kubilius noted that the biggest challenge in the coming years would be the fight against unemployment, and that in the long-term perspective the three Baltic States would seek deeper integration with the Baltic-Nordic region. The prime ministers discussed carrying out structural reforms, achievements and active cooperation in the energy and transport sectors. The prime ministers agreed that the Baltic States were successful at solving important issues together.
Russia said last week that it has no plans to boost the arsenal of its Baltic Fleet in response to Poland’s announcement that the U.S. will deploy Patriot-type missiles close to Russian borders, reports LETA. “No changes are planned in the combat components of the Baltic Fleet in connection with the deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles close to the border with Russia,” said the Russian Defense Ministry. Earlier, Novosti news agency had quoted a high-ranking official in the Baltic Fleet saying Russia would be boosting the weaponry of the fleet’s ships, submarines and aircraft in response to the Polish announcement. The Russian Defense Ministry said that any moves to rearm and modernize Russia’s navy - including the Baltic Fleet - would take place within the framework of an already announced military reform drive. The Patriot-type surface-to-air missiles would be deployed in northern Poland about 60 kilometers from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.