Nordic Council at Baltic conference: security and co-operation in the east are important

18.05.23 | News
Porträtt av Erkki Tuomioja och Bryndís Haraldsdóttir
Johannes Jansson/

Erkki Tuomioja and Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, members of the Nordic Council.

The Nordic Council is continuing to provide substantial support to Ukraine and wants to see close co-operation between the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well as increased international co-operation to uphold values such as democracy, the rule of law, equality and human rights. These are the messages that Nordic Council members Erkki Tuomioja, Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, Oddný G. Harðardóttir and Hanna Katrín Friðriksson are presenting at the conference of the Baltic Assembly for the countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership in Tallinn on 18 and 19 May.

The primary focus of the conference is on supporting the countries of the Eastern Partnership in the new geopolitical situation in Europe. The Baltic Assembly points out that the Baltic countries have already gone through many of the challenges that several of the countries in the Eastern Partnership are now experiencing, and that it’s important to support the development and security of those countries.

Security high on the agenda

The former president of the Nordic Council, Erkki Tuomioja, says that it is of the utmost importance to focus on security issues within the partnership, with the understanding that security also requires much more than military rearmament.

“Support for Ukraine, also in the long term, is of the highest priority for the Nordic Council. Together with the Baltic Assembly, we see it as important to continue dialogue with the democratically minded opposition in both Belarus and Russia.”

Tuomioja also highlights cyber security as an area that’s high on the agenda of the Nordic Council. In 2022, the Finnish presidency called for a common cyber security strategy for the Nordic countries.

Baltic Assembly a key partner for Nordic Council

The head of the Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council, Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, says that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a wake-up call for the Nordic Council.

“I’d like to apologise for the fact that we in the Nordic countries didn’t pay more attention to what the Baltic countries were saying earlier when you warned of the threat posed by Putin’s Russia.”

She says that people in the Nordic countries have now realised what an important role the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic countries play in the Eastern Partnership. The new international strategy adopted by the Nordic Council in Reykjavik in March this year clearly states that the Nordic Council will help to keep democracy, the principle of the rule of law, equality and human rights high on the international agenda.

“Countries that uphold these values can count on our support,” says Haraldsdóttir.

She also points to the situation in Moldova as a high priority for the Nordic countries. The country has been exposed to several airspace restrictions and cyberattacks by Russia, and Haraldsdóttir is pleased that the Nordic and Baltic governments want to work together to improve security, stability and democracy in the country and facilitate its integration in Europe.

I’d like to apologise for the fact that we in the Nordic countries didn’t pay more attention to what the Baltic countries were saying earlier when you warned of the threat posed by Putin’s Russia.

Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, member of the Nordic Council

The Baltic Assembly is an intergovernmental co-operative organisation comprising the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic Assembly was established in 1991.

The EU’s Eastern Partnership is an initiative which includes the EU, its Member States, and six Eastern European partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus*, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The overall objective is to improve stability, prosperity and resilience in the EU’s neighbouring countries.

*Since 2020, the EU has maintained non-political co-operation with Belarus within the EU’s Eastern Partnership and is intensifying co-operation with key Belarusian NGOs.