Estonia kicks off presidency of Baltic Assembly

Flags of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Baltic Assembly. Source: (Peeter Langovits/Postimees/Scanpix)

The Estonian presidency of the Baltic Assembly was opened on Monday at the meeting of the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly in Brussels.

The meeting began with the Presidium made a joint address in support of the agreement between the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regarding the development of the Rail Baltic railway connection, the agreement for which is planned to be signed on Jan. 31, a Riigikogu press release stated.

Aadu Must, who chaired the Presidium meeting as head of the Estonian delegation, said that during its presidency of the Baltic Assembly, Estonia would focus on promoting communication between the legislative and executive powers of the three Baltic states in order to better represent common regional interests.

"We must develop more comprehensive and inclusive regional cooperation and promotion of the Baltic profile at international forums," said Must. "Regular coordination of positions, targeted public diplomacy and strategic communication are of great importance to the secure Baltic region."

Duringt he meeting, Must presented an overview of events scheduled for the Estonian presidency year, the most important of which will be its annual session on Nov. 9-10. Also to be focused on are the actions of the Baltic Council of Ministers in implementing last year's decisions, cooperation with international partners the Nordic Council, the Benelux Parliament and the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly consisting of member states Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova.

On Jan. 23-24, the meetings of the Standing Committee of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC) and the BSPC working group on sustainable tourism will also be held in Brussels.

During the meeting of the BSPC Standing Committee, the progress report on the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region as well as the progress report on the activities of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) will be analyzed. Another important issue to be discussed will be the Parliament of Belarus' application for observer status at the BSPC.

The BSPC working group on sustainable tourism will compile summaries for the preparation of the final report. Financing of the tourism sector, the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises, tax policies and long-term development plans of the region will also be discussed at its meeting.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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