VILNIUS - At the international conference “A New Region of Europe: Regional Development Paradigms in the Baltic-Black Sea Intermarum,” which began on Nov. 26 in Vilnius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Azubalis emphasized the importance of cooperation among the countries of the region between the Baltic and the Black Sea, the press service of the Foreign Ministry reports. “Sub-regional cooperation proved itself to be a very effective tool to tackle emerging problems and to jointly defend common economic and political interests. We see stronger engagement in sub-regional cooperation as one of the priority directions for the Lithuanian chairmanship of OSCE next year,” Minister Azubalis said.
According to the minister, successful sub-regional cooperation is illustrated by such formats as the Visegrad group, Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), which enabled Central European and Baltic Sea states to develop common projects in various areas, as well as to define a common position on subjects of great importance for participating countries. Minister Azubalis said that the historical ties that bind countries between the Baltic and the Black Sea, also similar problems and interests, had produced contemporary political and economic arrangements in the region. “I am delighted that such arrangements, like inter-parliamentary assemblies, joint peacekeeping forces, joint economic and transport projects appear in the region,” Minister Azubalis said.
According to the minister, few regions in the world suffered more from the wars and empires in the 20th century than this region of Central and Eastern Europe. The minister said that a range of nations of the region emerged as independent states and nowadays the countries of the Intermarum enjoy good neighborly relations, have close political, economic, cultural ties and cooperate effectively in various fields. At the same time, Azubalis noted that now the region was facing a lot of challenges, among which energy security was perhaps the most important one.
Azubalis noted that most of the countries became members of the European Union, which helps them to improve people-to-people contacts and implement very important projects in all areas: education, culture, scientific research, infrastructure and the economy. The non-EU countries and their neighbors are joined together by common arrangements under the program of the Eastern Partnership Initiative.
The two-day conference in Vilnius focused on economic, legal and political processes in the Baltic-Black Sea Intermarum. The event is attended by scholars from the EU member states, Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. The conference is co-organized by the European Humanities University and Vytautas Magnus University, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.