At the 36th Baltic Assembly, Jörgen Pettersson, President of the BSPC, pointed out the longstanding close cooperation between the Baltic Assembly and the BSPC as, the detailed feedback of the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the implementation of the BSPC resolutions as well as common themes of both parliamentary institutions.
Furthermore, he emphasised:
”The Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference have had a very close, very intensive and very efficient cooperation for many years.
Our cooperation is based on mutual trust, on reliability and on friendship.
Many colleagues of the Baltic Assembly are very involved in the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference work. President Aadu Must as well as Vice Presidents Valerius Simulik and Prof. Jānis Vucāns are very committed members of our Standing Committee. And last year, when both of us were celebrating the 25th anniversary of our respective institutions, we had the closest possible cooperation: In the same year, Prof. Jānis Vucāns was President of the Baltic Assembly and President of the BSPC.
Your governments provide us with very detailed feedback on the implementation of our recommendations and resolutions. Thank you very much for that. We are proud to be able to formulate ideas that can change the future. But it is also very important to have a common dialogue between parliamentarians and governments in the whole Baltic Sea Region, such as the best practice examples in the Baltic Assembly and in the Nordic Council.
Therefore, I wholeheartedly invite the Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, here and now to come to Mariehamn on 27 August 2018 and underline the close cooperation between all parliaments and governments in the whole Baltic Sea region. From my point of view, it is of crucial importance that the Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs will at that time have the chairmanship in the CBSS. At that point, a new vision for the Baltic Sea region will be available for us to discuss. That vision will be developed under the Swedish Presidency based on the decision of the CBSS Foreign Ministers on 20 June in Reykjavik.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the Baltic Assembly and BSPC have common goals, we have similar priorities. One common focus in our assemblies this year was finding solutions in the areas of education, innovation and research.
At this year’s BSPC Conference in Hamburg, a number of different topics were discussed:
The issues of Migration and Integration pose a tremendous challenge to all countries in the Baltic Sea region as well as a great opportunity for their further development. This calls for intensive dialogue as well as close cooperation and also coordinated policies between the Baltic Sea States. Therefore, we have established a new working group that will analyze and discuss Migration and Integration.
We also discussed Democratic Participation and the Digital Age as well as Sustainable Tourism. We want to further improve and develop means of democratic participation, e.g. through transparency, comprehensive information, government accountability and other instruments of citizen participation.
Regarding Innovative Science and Research, the BSPC sees the necessity to intensify scientific cooperation in the Baltic Sea region in regard with both quality and quantity and to further improve the conditions of the Baltic Sea region in global scientific competition through joint strengthened efforts by increased investments in innovative science and research.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
my homeland, the Åland Islands, are particularly aware of the need for and committed to international parliamentary cooperation because of our history. Åland is a great and real example of crisis management. Thanks to international agreements nearly a hundred years ago, we today have an internationally guaranteed autonomy in the Baltic Sea; Åland is therefore known as ‘the islands of peace’.
The priority issues for the BSPC during the Åland Islands’ presidency in 2017 – 2018 are:
Sustainable societies in the Baltic Sea region based on democratic values, human rights and equal opportunities for all
Cooperation and integration for a secure and prosperous Baltic Sea area and
Migration and integration, finding solutions based on mutual information and best practices.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
apart from common priorities: The Baltic Assembly and BSPC have had a common vision for more than 25 years.
We want to live in a free, peaceful and prosperous Baltic Sea region. This was our main vision in 1991, it is our challenge today and our mutual wish for tomorrow.
And especially since we are once again, after more than 20 years, in a tense – perhaps an inflamed – situation:
It is more important than ever to follow our principal basis. To never forget the true meaning of life: peace, love and prosperity.
We want to be an international platform for cooperation, for commitment and for competence in the political dialogue of parliaments, governments and civil society in the Baltic Sea region.
Parliamentarians are responsible for the well-being of the countries, for the well-being of the population, for the well-being of the citizens around the Baltic Sea Area.
We want to have freedom, we want to have peace, we want to have peaceful cooperation on a democratic foundation. We want to inspire our fellow citizens to achieve more in their search for a better life.
Let’s continue working on making this come true over the coming years, in very close cooperation, with all our energy, with all our commitment, with all our competence. The Baltic Sea is life, love, hope and home.
Welcome all to Åland and the Baltic Sea Conference next August! We promise inspiring, wise and doable ideas that will make the Baltic Sea a safer, healthier, happier and more prosperous – and all in all – a better place for us all.”
BSPC President Pettersson also had bilateral talks to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, H.E. Mr. Linas Linkevičius, on the upcoming 27th annual conference of the BSPC 26-28 August 2018 in Mariehamn.