The 38th session of the Baltic Assembly and the 25th Baltic Council held in Riga on Friday focused on topics including the Rail Baltica railroad project, the development of the energy market, the perspectives of hydrogen as well as higher education in the Baltic states.
MP Aadu Must (Centre), head of the Estonian delegation to the Baltic Assembly (BA), said that the BA had always had serious discussions on common national defense issues, according to a Riigikogu press release.
"This does not mean only military national defense, but also other issues related to it," Must said. "Cross-border cooperation in its full extent is very important in medicine and organ transplantation, and in the joint procurement of medicines, and generally in various cross-border joint procurements that have brought real financial benefits."
Estonia took over the presidency of the BA from Latvia on Friday, as a result of which Must became president of the Baltic Assembly.
According to Must, the priorities of Estonia's assembly presidency would include Baltic partnership in defense and security, the development of energy and transport connections as well as regional networks in research and education.
"We will strive for the promotion of cooperation not only between the Baltic stations, but also with our more distant partners," he added.
Alternative energy sources discussed
BA delegation member and MP Sven Sester (Isamaa) participated as co-chair in theme panels addressing the development of the energy market and hydrogen perspectives. Sester believes that energy security in the Baltic states has been a major issue through the years, and different energy sources are also relevant.
"We pay more and more attention to potential additional alternative energy sources, and we are jointly tackling creating a common interest in different renewable energy issues in the Baltic states, such as wind energy, hydro power, and why not nuclear power in the future as well," he explained.
Sester added that one of the discussion panels had been dedicated to hydrogen-related issues. "We spoke about the issues that are connected with hydrogen and its use for the benefit of society," he said. "The Baltic states' common interest is to go further and deeper with the possible use of hydrogen in transport and in other spheres as well."
Education, research also in spotlight
Estonian delegation member and MP Signe Kivi (Reform) co-chaired the panel discussing Baltic cooperation in higher education. She believes that Baltic cooperation in education, culture and research is based on trust, partnership and a view to the future.
"Nothing can be more forward-looking than cooperation in education and research," Kivi said. "Thus it is a great pleasure to take up the torch and add some new aspects to it. A few weeks ago, I proposed here in Riga that we should pay more attention to ecological footprint in cultural management. We know that this is a significant issue throughout the world, and people in the cultural sector should contribute as well. Our Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues found that this is a very important topic, and Estonia will be making it one of the priorities of its presidency [of the BA]."
The Baltic Assembly is a consultative cooperation organization of the parliaments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and discusses issues of mutual interest. A 12-member delegation of the Riigikogu represents Estonia in the BA.
Editor: Aili Vahtla