The idea behind the two-day summit is to provide a fresh update on the current situation in Ukraine, hear what opposition activists have to say about their struggles in Russia and Belarus, discuss the way forward together, and look at ways in which the Baltic and Nordic countries can promote positive developments in the region in the longer term.
The Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly are co-hosting the summit. The two organisations work closely together and meet every year. Due to the Russian invasion, representatives from Ukraine and of the Russian and Belarusian opposition have also been invited this time.
Important to show support
Lesia Vasylenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, and Elina-Alem Kent, a journalist working for the Kyiv Independent, will be among the participants in the summit.
From Russia, Jevgenia Kara-Murza, who works for the Free Russia Foundation and is the wife of the imprisoned opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza will attend. From Belarus, the participants include Franak Viacorka, the chief adviser to the opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja.
The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, will also attend the meeting on Monday, 5 September.
“The work of the Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly is based on a long tradition of democracy, openness and peaceful coexistence, values which are incredibly important in today’s world. Support for the defence of Ukraine and maintaining contact and supporting those who oppose the war in Russia and Belarus are both important. The situation for the democratic opposition is difficult. Opposition to the war leaves people open to the threat of long prison terms or even worse,” says the President of the Nordic Council, Erkki Tuomioja.
Ukraine and Belarus high on the agenda
Ukraine has dominated the Nordic Council’s foreign policy agenda since the Russian invasion on 24 February. The Council has condemned Russia in the strongest possible terms and expressed wholehearted support for Ukraine. Its Theme Session in March 2022 dealt with the Russian invasion. The Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly have also entered into a new co-operation agreement in the wake of the Russian aggression.
The Nordic Council has longstanding contacts in Russia and Belarus. Since 2007, it has held annual meetings with the Belarusian opposition and NGOs. Although all contact with the regimes in Russia and Belarus has been suspended, the Council considers it important to maintain contact with the opposition
The international summit is being held to coincide with the Nordic Council’s annual September meetings, when the Presidium, the four committees and the party groups all meet. The September meetings traditionally mark the start of the Council’s autumn activities.
Lesia Vasylenko MP (Ukraine), Erkki Tuomioja of the Nordic Council and Jānis Vucāns of the Baltic Assembly will hold a press conference after the summit. Other participants may be added nearer the time.
The press conference will be held at 17:15 (Icelandic time) on 5 September in the Eyri room in Harpa, Reykjavík.
Media registration no later than noon (CET) on 5 September here:
The Nordic Council was established in 1952 and is the official interparliamentary body in the Nordic Region. It has 87 from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland.
The Baltic Assembly is an inter-parliamentary body consisting of members from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It was established in 1991.