Ratas: We must ensure allied presence in Baltics in future as well ({{commentsTotal}})

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met in Tallinn on Monday. Dec. 18, 2017.
Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met in Tallinn on Monday. Dec. 18, 2017. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Monday's meeting between Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in Tallinn began with a discussion about regional security, where the three leaders agreed NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) has been a success.

"The cooperation of the three Baltic countries had an important role in the making of this decision," Ratas said at the joint press conference following the meeting according to a government press release. "This does not mean, however, that total security has been achieved. We must continue contributing to ensure NATO's attentiont o our region and its presence in the Baltic states in the future as well."

NATO's eFP is a forward deployed defense and deterrence posture in Eastern Europe agreed upon at the 2016 Warsaw Summmit, which according to the Estonian government has significantly strengthened the security of the region by bringing 20 allies to the Baltic states and Poland this year.

In addition to defense, the three prime ministers also discussed cooperation in energy infrastructure projects as well as the development of transport connections.

"I sincerely hope that by next summer, we will have all the information necessary for moving forward with the synchronization of Baltic and continental Europe's electricity systems," Ratas said.

The establishment of a regional Baltic-Finnish gas market is also underway. "A well-functioning and well-connected regional gas market also means efficient competition and increased energy security," noted the Estonian prime minister.

According to Ratas, it is essential to move forward with the Rail Baltica project. "We need to ensure the financing of the project during the next budgetary period of the EU as well," he added.

At the end of their meeting, Ratas thanked his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues for great cooperation during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU, which draws to a close at the end of the month. "The Estonian presidency was a success, thanks especially to great cooperation with our closest friends," he highlighted.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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