Ilves critical of ‘Old Europe’

  • 2011-11-30
  • From wire reports

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY: Toomas Hendrik Ilves spoke positively on growing regional cooperation.

TALLINN - Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves stressed at the international conference “The Baltic Ways: 20 Years on. Closing the Gaps in the Baltic Sea Region” on Nov. 24 in Tallinn that the cooperation of the Baltic States has in 20 years changed from declarations and seeking of international support to specific regional projects, reports LETA. These are Rail Baltic, new nuclear power station building and making the NATO air patrolling mission permanent.
Ilves focused on regional cooperation: cooperation of Nordic and Baltic States, or NB6 in the EU and also NB8, which also includes Iceland and Norway as well as EU Baltic sea strategy which includes all of the alliance’s Baltic Sea member states, or NB6 together with Poland and Germany.

The Estonian president also raised the issue of the EU’s internal market, saying that the economic success of the EU states lies in a common market. “But now when we are all worried about the European economy, we see that the so-called old member states refuse to make efforts in the name of the common market and cling to state aid granted to them instead. Such state aid is known as the common agricultural policy. It is common only if you are one of the so-called old member states,” said Ilves.

President Ilves also spoke of the UN Development Program common report on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that reflects the success story of the three Baltic States in the past two decades. This year three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence. It is on this occasion that the Estonian Cooperation Assembly in cooperation with the Baltic Assembly and European Commission Representations in Estonia and Lithuania organized the conference “The Baltic Ways: 20 Years On. Closing the Gaps in the Baltic Sea Region,” taking place from Nov. 24-25 in Tallinn.

The conference is related to the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Assembly and its annual meeting, which is held in Tallinn within these dates. Speakers from the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Parliaments as well as renowned experts focused on the analysis of post-communist developments in the Baltic Sea area and discussed future perspectives for closing the economic and social gaps in the region.