Estonia to chair Baltic cooperation efforts in 2017 (2)
For the next 12 months Estonia will lead the cooperation of the three Baltic states on the political level, coordinating the countries’ work in the Baltic Council of Ministers as well as the Baltic Assembly.
“Estonia will concentrate primarily on intensifying security and defense cooperation of the Baltic states, and on the development of the regional energy market and transport connections,” Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (SDE) said.
“In the current security situation it is very important for the Baltic states to work together to increase their security and economic well-being. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are good friends who have a lot of experience to share with each other, and close cooperation will only help strengthen these relations,” the minister added.
Chairing the Baltic cooperation efforts rotates once a year. The tasks of the leading country include the coordination of the three countries’ governments as well as their parliaments. The first steps to establish this kind of cooperation were taken already in the 1920s, after all three countries had become independent.
Perhaps the proudest moment of the Baltic states’ united efforts came in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when they fought to regain their independence from the Soviet Union after half a century of occupation. On Aug. 23, 1989, the Baltic Way, with people holding hands forming a line that stretched from the northern coast of Estonia to the south of Lithuania over a distance of 650 km, gained worldwide attention.