The Ministers responsible for Agriculture, Forestry, Food Issues and Fisheries from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden at a meeting in Tallinn, 7-8 November 2003 adopted a declaration on enhanced co-operation between the Nordic and Baltic states in the areas of agriculture, forestry, food issues and fisheries. They agreed as follows:
1. The Ministers confirmed that the agricultural, forestry, food and fisheries sectors continue to play a crucial role for the socio-economic development of the Nordic and Baltic states. This is of great importance for growth, employment, living conditions and sustainable development in the region.
2. The Ministers stressed the importance of ongoing cooperation within international processes and organisations, in particular the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Council of the Baltic Sea States, including Baltic 21. The 2004 enlargement of the European Union to include the Baltic states represents an important milestone for the region. International co-operation and consultation within the agricultural, forestry, food and fisheries sectors must be emphasised to produce appropriate responses to the challenges arising from, inter alia, increasing globalisation of production, market liberalisation and rapid technology development. In this context, the Nordic and Baltic states constitute a region with common challenges in the years to come.
3. The Ministers acknowledged the efforts made in the context of the Consultation Committee for Agriculture and Forestry Cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic States to implement the Copenhagen Declaration on Sustainable Rural Development, adopted in December 2000 by the ministers responsible for agriculture and forestry from the Nordic and Baltic states, and took note of the evaluation of the results so far.
4. Based on the experiences made since the Copenhagen Ministerial meeting and considering the future challenges facing the region, for the period 2004-2006 the Ministers agreed on enhanced co-operation and consultation on agriculture, forestry, food issues and fisheries.
5. The Ministers requested the High Level Coordination Group of the Nordic Council of Ministers to as soon as possible convene in a composition extended with the participation of the Baltic states (HL-NB8) to consider the political and practical modalities for enhanced Nordic-Baltic cooperation, with a view to further integrate the cooperation between the Nordic and Baltic states at ministerial level in the fields of agriculture, forestry, food issues and fisheries.
The Ministers also gave the three Committees of Senior Officials (CSOs) under the Nordic Council of Ministers in the fields of agriculture/forestry, food issues and fisheries, extended with participation from the Baltic countries (CSO-NB8) the following tasks:
- To point out common priorities for the cooperation,
- To identify common projects and
- To consider how the Baltic states could further be integrated in the activities of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
6. The Ministers gave the Consultation Committee the task to for a transitional period until 2005 monitor the cooperation and initiate preparations for the next Ministerial meeting.
7. Finally, the Ministers declared their willingness to convene again on the basis of the recommendations from the High Level Coordination Group, HL-NB8, at the latest in 2006. Russia should be invited to participate in the preparations of the meeting.
List Ministers participating in the adoption of the Tallinn Declaration on Enhanced Co-operation between the Nordic and Baltic States in the Areas of Agriculture, Forestry, Food Issues and Fisheries, 7 November 2003
Ms Mariann Fischer Boel, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Denmark
Mr. Tiit Tammsaar, Minister of Agriculture, Estonia
Mr. Juha Korkeaoja, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Mr. Árni Matthíesen, Minister of Fisheries, Iceland
Mr. Mārtiņš Roze, Minister of Agriculture, Latvia
Mr. Jeronimas Kraujelis, Minister of Agriculture, Lithuania
Mr. Lars Sponheim, Minister of Agriculture, Norway
Ms Ann-Christin Nykvist, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Sweden