Riigikogu speaker stresses need for unity on regional security

Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas (EKRE).
Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas (EKRE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The three Baltic nations and five Nordic countries should act as one, when it comes to regional security, said Henn Põlluaas (EKRE), Riigikogu speaker.

Põlluaas made his comments at a meeting of parliament speakers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, as well as Estonia, hosted at the Arvo Pärt Center in the village of Laulasmaa, west of Tallinn.

The group, dubbed the NB8, also discussed relations with Russia, the  Eastern Partnership (EaP), an EU initiative to foster relations with several former Soviet states, including Ukraine and Georgia, and the fight against misinformation, according to a Riigikogu press release.

Põlluaas said that one of the main threats comes from the deterioration of global, rule-based order.

"Our political approach at international organizations must be united and systemic. We need to continue to aspire to ensure collective activities within NATO, as well as EU joint measures," Põlluaas said to his colleagues.

"We need to speak with one voice in our demands that Moscow change its behavior," he continued.

Põlluaas said that Russia's systematic destabilizing and aggressive behavior affected not only its neighbors but the whole Euro-Atlantic region.

"In our bilateral approach, we must keep the sanctions regime on Russia in place until termination of aggression in eastern Ukraine, while at the same time improve ties with Russian society," Põlluaas said.

Põlluaas expressed hope in further development of the NB8, which should move from an exchange of information and ideas to actual coordination of common positions on topical issues, he said.

Põlluaas' Latvian and Lithuanian couterparts pointed out the need to support Eastern Partnership countries more strongly, involving them in joint activity and sharing experiences in furthering democracy via mutual visits. Nordic parliament speakers stressed the increasing importance of the environment and climate policy, in shaping policy and ensuring security in the region.

Countering disinformation attacks and raising public awareness in recognizing disinformation were also discussed. The U.K.'s potential withdrawal from the EU, and continuing close relations in the future, especially in foreign policy, defense and security, were also on the table.

The speakers as a whole noted the need for digital solutions in facilitating communication and cooperation, in addition to face-to-face meetings.

Iceland holds the NB8 presidency this year, with Estonia taking over next year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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