Estonia to take over presidency of Baltic Assembly from Latvia (1)
At the end of the annual session of the interparliamentary Baltic Assembly in Riga on Friday, Latvia will hand over the presidency of the assembly to Estonia.
"As the consistent development of our region is very important to us, Estonia will continue with the issues that have been significant for us all through the previous presidencies," said First Vice President of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder, who will be the next President of the Baltic Assembly. "Our presidency will focus on strategically important priorities that have a practical impact on each individual state as well as the whole region."
Seeder said that the main objectives of the Baltic Assembly are to strengthen the security and defense cooperation of the Baltic states, a comprehensive approach to the energy market, transport and infrastructure as well as development of research and innovation.
"During the Estonian presidency, we will also keep a close eye on how the interests of the Baltic countries are represented in the EU and other international organizations," Seeder added. "We will likewise continue cooperation with the Nordic Council, the Benelux Parliament and Visegrád Group to develop common positions at the EU level."
The 35th Session of the Baltic Assembly, held in Riga on Friday, will begin with a meeting of the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly and the speakers of the three countries' respective national parliaments. It will be followed by sessions of the Baltic Assembly's committees as well as the awarding of the assembly's medals to persons for whom Baltic cooperation is important and who stand for the preservation of regional values.
The afternoon session, where issues relating to migration and the EU's external border will be discussed, will be chaired by Seeder, who is yet the current vice president of the Baltic Assembly. New challenges and common solutions for the Baltic states in mitigating the refugee crisis, intensification of the cooperation of border guard agencies, protection of borders and new possible routes of migration will be among the topics discussed.
In addition, the demographic situation in the Baltic countries, family support policies, investments into welfare and economic growth will be discussed during th afternoon, as will the Rail Baltic project, transport corridors, the initiating of new projects and cross-border cooperation.
At the end of Friday's session, the Final Document of the 35th Session of the Baltic Assembly will be signed and recommendations to the assembly's respective home governments on improving the security, economic growth and welfare of the population of the region adopted.
On Thursday evening, the gala of the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Assembly and the awards ceremony for the Baltic Assembly Prizes for literature, arts, science and innovation were held in Ziemeļblāzma Culture Palace in Riga. The grand opening of the new building of the Latvian Saeima also took place on Thursday night.
The Estonian delegation to the 35th session of the Baltic Assembly in Riga consists of the President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, First Vice President of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder and MPs Aadu Must (Center), Toomas Kivimägi (Reform), Krista Aru (Free), Rainer Vakra (SDE), Heljo Pikhof (SDE), Uno Kaskpeit (EKRE), Andre Sepp (Reform), Peep Aru (Reform) and Kalvi Kõva (SDE).