TALLINN - The Baltic States and Poland are a part of the Baltic Sea identity, said Estonian President Toomas Hendrrik Ilves, who hosted a meeting of Baltic and Polish presidents last Thursday and Friday in the Vihula manor in northeast Estonia, reports LETA. “Baltic and Nordic countries are only successful via common actions in the Baltic Sea scope, which makes us visible and audible in the whole of Europe,” said Ilves. “We are joined by the Baltic Sea identity.”
Dalia Grybauskaite, Andris Berzins and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, respectively, focused on common transport and energy projects, regional security and the Baltic contribution thereto.
“Estonia knows that Baltic cooperation in the EU is really useful for the citizens of the three states only when our parliaments and governments understand the need to pay for the cross-border transport infrastructure and common energy projects,” said Ilves, reminding the audience of the Rail Baltic project as well as the new Lithuanian nuclear power plant. “There is no place here for pettiness and low level calculation of how much benefits exactly anyone reaps alone; the general interest and security of the region should be our focus,” said Ilves.
During the meeting, the presidents agreed to coordinate their countries’ stances on the most problematic issues of the European Union’s long-term budget, such as cohesion and utilization of EU funds.
They also discussed the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Ilves agreed with Latvia’s and Lithuania’s stance on fair EU policy regarding direct area payments and pointed out that the current proposal from the European Commission has put the Baltic States in a particularly bad position.
The unpredictable economic situation in Europe and the world, which is of great importance to the Baltic countries, was also discussed.
The heads of state emphasized that it is necessary to strengthen Nordic-Baltic cooperation (NB8) in 2012, when Lithuania will coordinate the NB8. The presidents agreed that this cooperation is becoming increasingly important in all areas - energy security and defense (including the NATO air policing mission), the economy and finances, as well as environmental protection. The next meeting of NB8 will be held in Vilnius in April 2012. U.S. highest officials have been invited to participate in it as well.
Several Baltic energy projects were also on the presidents’ agenda for the meeting - the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and Visaginas nuclear power plant, the synchronization of Baltic and EU electricity networks, as well as the import of electricity from other countries.