Prime Minister: we will continue the active dialogue among the Baltic countries

Date

2018 12 17

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This year’s closing meeting of the Prime Ministers’ Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers has been held in Vilnius today, where Prime Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis and Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas have discussed prospects for further cooperation.     

‘I highly appreciate the active dialogue and joint positions of the Baltic countries. Let me particularly highlight the reached agreement over the synchronisation of the Baltic States’ electricity grid with the continental European system. In our today’s meeting, we have discussed the Baltic cooperation in the field of defence, and I am delighted that all of us meet the commitment to allocate 2 percent of GDP to defence.  Matters of security remain a priority for us’, said Prime Minister Skvernelis.  

At the meeting, intentions have been expressed to cooperate more actively in the field of crisis management, since not a single country in Europe is protected from cyber or information threats today. It has been agreed to devote special attention to the implementation of the decisions on air defence.    

According to Skvernelis, the Baltic countries are an example of success in the European Union. It has been achieved both through the EU financial assistance measures and by pursuing the required reforms. In the context of the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework, Lithuania will seek full convergence in all areas. Lithuania’s priorities are the Cohesion Policy, rural development and direct payments, financing for the decommissioning of Ignalina NPP and proper attention to the protection of the EU’s external borders. Prime Minister Skvernelis has emphasized that the Rail Baltica project is a priority for Lithuania. The joint ambition is the connection of the regional railway infrastructure with the continental Europe. Here Rail Baltica is seen as a link between Warsaw and Helsinki which will connect all the Baltic capitals.          

The clock-changing practice has also been discussed. In consideration of the public opinion on stopping the practice of clock-changing, Lithuania has played an active role on the EU level. It is expected that decisions at the EU level will be taken in 2021 and that the clock-changing practice will be stopped. It has been agreed with the Latvian and Estonian Prime Ministers to coordinate the joint actions related to the time zone and to look for a common solution in the future.         

Prime Minister Skvernelis has thanked once again his Estonian and Latvian colleagues and delegations for the cooperation and has wished Latvia every success in its Chairmanship of the Baltic Council of Ministers next year.

After the meeting, the three Baltic Prime Ministers have signed the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers’ Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers which reflects the joint positions on all matters of the trilateral agenda.