At Monday’s seminar, Høybråten congratulated the Baltic countries on 25 years of independence and praised their ability to co-operate over the years.
“Your dedicated and responsible participation in regional, European, and global co-operation is outstanding,” he said.
Høybråten pointed to the three Baltic countries’ co-operation in organisations including the EU, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Nordic-Baltic NB8 co-operation.
Co-operation with the Nordic Council of Ministers began even before the countries became independent, and in early 1991 the council of ministers opened offices in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Co-operation over the last quarter of a century has focused on issues such as democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and gender equality.Even in the 25 years to come, our close, innovative, and flexible co-operation can help to strengthen our common position and role in a wider European and global context.
In his speech, Høybråten mentioned that the Nordic Council of Ministers has recently started to support independent Russian-language media in the Baltic region in order to provide Russian speakers in the Baltic countries with balanced information.
“Hopefully this will improve the inclusion of all citizens in the three independent states,” Høybråten said.
Høybråten also emphasised Nordic-Baltic co-operation in innovation, mentioning Skype as one outcome of this. In particular he mentioned the “flagship” BSR Stars, which is an ongoing co-operation programme for innovation in the Baltic Sea region, administered by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Høybråten stressed that the regions’ cultural and geographical similarities are the cornerstone of successful co-operation between Nordic and Baltic organisations and companies.
“Even in the 25 years to come, our close, innovative, and flexible co-operation can help to strengthen our common position and role in a wider European and global context. This is a win-win situation for the Nordic and Baltic regions,” Høybråten said.