Foreign minister: Baltic council reforms needed to maintain cooperation

Council of the Baltic Sea States foreign ministers at Jūrmala, Latvia on Monday. Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) is at back row, third from left.
Council of the Baltic Sea States foreign ministers at Jūrmala, Latvia on Monday. Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) is at back row, third from left. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) was at a Council of Baltic Sea States meeting Monday, in Jūrmala, Latvia. The foreign ministers of several countries in the region discussed the organization's work, and possible efficiency reforms. A "roadmap" on achieving this objective was also endorsed. Reinsalu said the reforms were particularly necessary to ensure the council's sustainability of dialogue and cooperation.

Reinsalu also met his Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkēvičs (Unity). The pair talked about bilateral relations, regional cooperation, and Russian actions in Ukraine.

"Today's meeting is another demonstration of the political commitment of member states to the Council, its objectives and the need for joint action," Reinsalu said, according to a ministry press release.

"The Baltic Sea Region unites us all, and this is why it is only via cooperation that we can increase the prosperity and safety of our citizens," he added.

Reinsalu highlighted progress made by the council's member states in border protection and rescue operations, combating human trafficking and organized crime, sustainable development, and educational and social areas.

Shifting situations and challenges in the region do, however, make reforms to the council's operations necessary, he said.

"Reforms are necessary to make the work of the organization more efficient and to ensure the sustainability of this format of cooperation," Reinsalu said. He added the approved roadmap provides the right tools, enabling a flexibility and cooperation with other international formats that Estonia fully supports.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States was founded in 1992 to strengthen political dialogue and improve cooperation between states in the region. It comprises Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Poland, and Russia, as well as Estonia.

The EU also participates in the council's work. Its presidency is currently held by Latvia, with Denmark taking on the role from 1 July‬.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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