Baltic Sea foreign ministers hold video meeting

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) remotely attending a meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). May 19, 2020. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) attended a video meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) on Tuesday, the main topics of which included the inclusion of young people the climate and the environment, fighting cross-border crime as well as the coronavirus crisis.

Reinsalu thanked his Danish colleague for Denmark's successful presidency and the implementation of council reforms; Denmark holds the presidency of the CBSS from July 2019 through this July, according to a ministry press release.

In his statement at the meeting, Reinsalu emphasized the importance of digital cooperation.

"The COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown the importance of exchanging information at various levels on healthcare, security, the economy and education," he said. "We should all value and support the development of modern digital technology and find a more efficient mechanism for sharing each other's experiences and best practices. Estonia is ready to share its experiences."

On the subject of young people, the Estonian minister noted that increasing the role of young people and amplifying their voices in society and at various levels of policymaking has been a long-term priority of the Estonian government. "Estonia is among the few European countries where, as of 2016, it is possible to vote in local elections from the age of 16," he highlighted.

He also reaffirmed Estonia's support for various regional initiatives for encouraging sustainable development, dealing with climate change as well as protecting the marine environment of the Baltic Sea.

"Among other things, the European Green Deal supports switching to renewable sources," Reinsalu said. "There are several ways to increase the share of renewable energy in Estonia and the Baltic Sea region — we can use the potential of the wind energy of the Baltic Sea together."

The minister noted the importance of digital cooperation in fighting crime.

"The character of organized crime is changing: the share of cybercrime is growing quickly, corruption is becoming more covert, new complicated forms of cross-border crime are emerging, such as hybrid and financial crimes," he highlighted. "Not to mention new threats related to the development of technology, such as virtual currencies and artificial intelligence."

Also adopted at Tuesday's meeting was the Bornholm Declaration, which stipulates the priorities of the council.

The CBSS consists of of 11 member states: Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Germany. Lithuania will take over the presidency of the CBSS from Denmark this July.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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