History of the Baltic cooperation
Cooperation between three Baltic States is based on the trilateral Treaty on Concord and Cooperation, signed on September 12, 1934 in Geneva. The Declaration on Unity and Cooperation, signed on May 12, 1990 in Tallinn, in full scope restored the cooperation between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pursuant to the Geneva Treaty the Baltic Council was established in 1990. The Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM) – the institution of trilateral intergovernmental cooperation was established at the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers on the 13th of June 1994.
The Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM) – the institution of trilateral intergovernmental cooperation - was established at the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers on the 13th of June 1994. The BCM was reformed and adjusted to the changed environment, when the Baltic States joined the EU and NATO. The structure of the BCM takes into account political interests and gives a possibility to manage the trilateral cooperation. The BCM operates under the guidance of the Prime Ministers’ Council, and the Cooperation Council, which comprises the ministers of foreign affairs, coordinates the activity of the Committees of Senior Officials (CSO). Pursuant to the Terms of Reference the Committees of Senior Officials act at five areas of cooperation at the expert level. If necessary, The Task Forces are established by the Prime Ministers’ Council. The Prime Ministers’ Council determines specific task to be performed by the Task Force in definite time frame. The Secretariat arranges the activities of the BCM. The Secretariat comprises the officers of the foreign ministries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, who are responsible of the cooperation of the Baltic States. The Secretariat acts on the initiative of the chairmanship in the preparation for the meetings of the Prime Ministers‘ Council and Cooperation Council. The chairmanship of the BCM is starting from the beginning of every calendar year. The country holding the chairmanship is engaged in directing the work carried out on all levels of cooperation.
Baltic governmental and parliamentary cooperation
The Baltic Assembly (BA) is an international organization, established on 8 November 1991, which aims to promote cooperation between the parliaments of the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. BA works under the Statute, which entered into force on 31 October 1993.
There is the Agreement on Baltic Parliamentary and Governmental cooperation between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, signed on 13 June 1994 in Tallinn. The Protocol amending this agreement was signed on 28 November 2003 in Vilnius.
The Baltic Council is an annual joint meeting hold by the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Baltic Assembly. This meeting includes a session of the Baltic Assembly, a meeting between the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly and Cooperation Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers, a meeting of the Cooperation Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers, and the report of the Chairman of the Cooperation Council to the Baltic Assembly session on cooperation between the Baltic States during the previous year, on activities related to the resolutions adopted by the Baltic Assembly during the year in question, and plans for further cooperation.
In 2016, Latvia was the presiding country within the framework of the trilateral cooperation of the Baltic States – at the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers.
On the 28th of October 2016 in Riga the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers adopted the Joint Statement of the 22nd Baltic Council.
On the 9th of December 2016 in Riga the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers’ Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers was adopted.
On the 31st of January 2017 an informal meeting of the Prime minsters council of the Baltic Council of Ministers was held in Tallinn.
The priorities of the Baltic cooperation during Estonia’s chairmanship in 2017 are:
- Strengthening of security, enhancement of security and defence cooperation,
- Developing regional energy market,
- Developing transport connections.
Information about the Baltic Assembly is here www.baltasam.org
In 2018 Lithuania will assume the chairmanship of the Baltic cooperation.