The President of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, Prof Dr Jānis Vucāns, opened the 25th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference on Monday morning.
Over 200 parliamentarians, ambassadors of the Baltic Sea States in Latvia, experts and other invited guests were welcomed by the President of the Republic of Latvia, Mr Raimonds Vējonis, and the speaker of the Latvian parliament, Ms Ināra Mūrniece.
“Historic events that took place at the end of August 25 years ago”
The Latvian President expressed his pride to address the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference at the moment when the organization celebrates the historic events that took place 25 year ago and also led to the founding of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference. Mr Vējonis stressed that these events had also brought to an end 50 years of occupation and allowed the three Baltic States to become free and independent once more.
The President also pointed out that the region has developed into an economically vibrant, secure and stable area. Thanks to the openness of the markets in the region and the close economic ties that have been established, the Nordic Baltic region has developed fast during the last 25 years and has become one of the most dynamic, IT- and innovation-oriented regions of the world.
“Stronger when we are unified in our dedication to cooperation and peace”
The Speaker of the Latvian Parliament, Ms Ināra Mūrniece, congratulated the BSPC President and the delegations on the occasion of the BSPC’s Silver Jubilee.
She recapitulated that the founding fathers of the Baltic Sea regional cooperation had had a vision of peace. This vision should inspire more than ever to build bridges and tear down walls. She especially welcomed Iceland’s Aalthingi as the oldest parliament in the world and expressed her special thanks to Iceland for putting democracy as the key priority for their Presidency in the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
“Aggressive behaviour cannot be tolerated in the 21st century”
After the Report from the BSPC President, in which the BSPC President especially highlighted the BSPC’s thematic focus in 2015/2016, a visit from members of the BSPC Standing Committee to Minsk in April as well as the increasingly comprehensive feedback from the governments to the resolutions of the BSPC, the former Prime Minister of Latvia and current Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, emphasized the role of the Baltic Sea Region as a generator of economic prosperity. According to the Vice President, the region is a hub of competitive economies with a bright future.
Mr Dombrovskis stressed that the countries in the region had shown political unity in times of crisis, and underlined that aggressive behaviour could not be tolerated in the 21st century.
Conclusion of the first day of the Conference
The conference furthermore debated how to develop competitiveness in the Baltic Sea Region by linking education and the labour market, and held a ceremonial session in honour of the BSPC’s Silver Jubilee under the participation of two long-standing BSPC members, Mr Trivimi Velliste from Estonia and Mr Franz Thönnes from Germany, as well as the President of the Nordic Youth Council, Mr Anna Abrahamsson.
More information about the Riga conference.