Estonia takes on Baltic Assembly presidency
Estonia is to hold the presidency of the Baltic Assembly (BA), which brings together representatives of the parliaments of all three Baltic States, from Friday, following its delegation attending the body's 38th session in Riga Thursday.
Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) said ahead of the meeting that the three Baltic states were more interconnected globally than ever before.
"Our contribution to the national, regional and allied security starts with our individual awareness of the responsibility we have in developing and protecting democracy and the rule of law. When we think about our recent history, we often understand each other almost without the need for words. Our countries are free and democratic, our languages and cultures are here to stay, and we are reliable partners for our friends and allies," Põlluaas said, according to a Riigikogu press release.
Põlluaas added that Baltic defense cooperation needs to be enhanced to ensure the countries' security, adding that involving NATO allies through a larger permanent presence was also important.
Head of the BA Estonian delegation Aadu Must (Centre) said that traditions and mutual trust have helped the assembly to make the form of cooperation an extremely efficient means of achieving common goals.
"This cooperation has passed the test of history, strengthening our fight to restore our independence and enhancing our coordinated actions, thoughts and development plans. These traditions are still going strong," Must said.
Estonia takes over the BA presidency from Latvia on Friday, with Aadu Must becoming new assembly president.
"I would like to acknowledge the huge work done by the current President Janis Vucans, who put his whole heart into it. It is a great honor to continue his work," Must said of the appointment.
The 38th Baltic Assembly sittings, as well as the 25th Baltic Council sitting on Friday, will see the Latvian presidency presenting its report, along with discussions on the Rail Baltic project, development of the energy market, higher education in the Baltic States and other topics.
The BA Resolution and the 38th session's final document will be passed, and a joint statement from the Baltic Council of Ministers is due to be signed.
A BA Award Ceremony on Thursday evening will see Estonian poet and children's writer Leelo Tungal receive this year's BA Prize for Literature.
The BA is a consultative cooperation organization of the parliaments of the three Baltic States, and discusses issues of mutual interest. A 12-strong Riigikogu delegation represents Estonia at the BA.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte