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Minister of Foreign Affairs

Linas Linkevičius

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Prospects for Baltic Sea regional cooperation discussed in Jūrmala

Created: 2019.06.03 / Updated: 2019.06.03 16:02
      Prospects for Baltic Sea regional cooperation discussed in Jūrmala
      Prospects for Baltic Sea regional cooperation discussed in Jūrmala

      On 3 June, in Jūrmala, Latvia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended a high-level meeting marking the end of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Together with his counterparts from the Baltic and Nordic countries, Germany, Russia, and the European External Action Service, L. Linkevičius discussed prospects for the Baltic Sea regional cooperation.

      According to the Foreign Minister, full-blown, trust based cooperation is only possible if all countries in the region base their policies on the principles of the rule of law, democracy, respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

      “Lithuania has a long tradition of cooperation with other countries in the Baltic Sea region. We had geopolitical configurations that were sometimes favorable and sometimes quite hostile. We have also been through various stages of openness and cooperation. When the Council of the Baltic Sea States was established, we started to address acute political, economic, and social issues. In addition, we promoted integration between the east coast and the west coast of the Baltic Sea. We have succeeded. We quickly became a model for regional cooperation. Many European regions are following our example,” said L. Linkevičius.

      According to the Foreign Minister, the regional security and cooperation situation has changed due to Russia's aggressive politics. Therefore, it is important that we discuss how to maintain our regional cooperation under such conditions and a possible change of activities of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

      The Foreign Minister L. Linkevičius also raised the issue of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP) project in Belarus. “It is in the interests of the entire region that compliance with international nuclear safety and environmental standards is ensured when implementing the Ostrovets NPP project. We call on Belarus to guarantee transparency and to answer all the questions about the implementation of its NPP project. Unfortunately, we miss constructive dialogue with Belarus in this area,” said the Foreign Minister. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Oleg Kravchenko attended the meeting as a guest.

      The Jūrmala Declaration was adopted at the meeting. The document affirms a unique role of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in ensuring an intergovernmental political dialogue and practical cooperation in the region. It also commends the Council‘s activities in many areas relevant to sustainable development of the region, as well as efforts to tackle the most pressing issues, such as trafficking in human beings, violence against children, and organized crime.

      As a result of the implementation of the CBSS reform, the Council will change the principles of its activities. The fundamental principle must be the flexibility of the organization bearing in mind the geopolitical circumstances. The Latvian Presidency has set out the path for a much-needed reset of the organization, which will be completed by the Danish Presidency of the Council and implemented by Lithuania. The country will take the helm on 1 July 2020.


      For more information, please read here.