At the first Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8) meeting of ministers for development cooperation in Vilnius on 2 October, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis emphasized the new practical initiatives to ensure democracy in Eastern Europe through the means of development cooperation.
“Only practical approach can help us achieve specific objectives of democracy. In this regard, we support greater engagement of civil society and local authorities in development cooperation. We would also like to promote greater involvement of political parties in Eastern Europe, North Africa or South Caucasus. It is important in all cases to help social movements transform into political parties, to open political dialogue with them and to promote social stability,” Ažubalis said.
During the meeting, representatives from the Nordic and Baltic States discussed the most important items on the development cooperation agenda: democratic principles, the rule of law, good governance and protection of human rights in partner countries.
The international community has already initiated discussions on how the Millennium Development Goals agenda might change. At the event, representatives from the Nordic and Baltic States are sharing their ideas about the development agenda beyond 2015.
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals were adopted by all United Nations member states. Besides the goal of poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals include universal primary education, gender equality and other ways to promote social development.
The event was attended by European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.
The meeting discussed issues, which are important for the new EU member states - sharing transitional experience as means of assistance to partner countries. Ažubalis called on participants of the meeting to discuss how sharing transitional experience of the new EU member states could help partner countries implement democratic and economic reforms.
Representatives from the Nordic and Baltic States also shared their opinions on the implementation of the Commission’s Agenda for Change.