The meeting of the state secretaries from the Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8) countries was held on 23 October in Vilnius, as Lithuania coordinates the NB8 agenda. The meeting discussed key issues of European and international policy.
Traditionally, this framework is used to discuss European and global issues, to share opinions and to adjust common performance opportunities. Practical issues, such as the sharing of the premises of diplomatic missions when it is needed and if it is possible, are also discussed.
“In the second half of 2013, Lithuania will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Thus the deepening of cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic countries remains important for the Lithuanians foreign policy,” Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vytautas Leškevičius said after the meeting.
“Along with the state secretaries from the Nordic and Baltic countries in Vilnius, we discussed relevant issues related to the Eastern Partnership countries and the Middle East, especially the situation in Syria, and the Nordic-Baltic cooperation in Afghanistan,” the Vice-Minister said.
Sweden presented its plans for the next year, when it will take over the coordination of the NB8 agenda. This country intends to continue the implementation of recommendations set out in the “NB8 Wise Men Report” by high level experts Valdis Birkavs and Søren Gade in 2010, to support the priorities of Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council, and to focus on the integration of the energy market. Sweden will seek to continue Lithuania’s activities in e-PINE (Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe), the international framework for cooperation between the U.S.A. and Northern Europe on security issues.
The next meeting of the Nordic-Baltic countries will take place in Helsinki on 29-30 October. It will bring together NB8 Prime Ministers to discuss Europe’s financial situation and other issues.
The Nordic Baltic Eight is an informal cooperation mechanism established by five Nordic countries and three Baltic States in 1992. The annual meeting of state secretaries from the NB8 countries is held in the country, which coordinates the NB8 agenda. Last year, the meeting was held in Helsinki and in 2013 it will take place in Sweden, as this country will take over the coordination of the NB8 agenda from Lithuania.