The Baltic Assembly (BA) is a consultative cooperation organisation of the parliaments of the three Baltic States which discusses issues of mutual interest. A 12-member delegation of the Riigikogu represents Estonia in the Assembly.
The task of the Riigikogu delegation to the Baltic Assembly is to express Estonia’s views in the Presidium and at international forums. The Delegation has 12 members. The correlation of political forces in the parliament and the need to represent the standing committees of the Riigikogu are taken into account when the delegation is formed.
The official languages of the BA are Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian. Other languages are used by agreement of the delegations.
The Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania Interparliamentary Assembly or the Baltic Assembly was established on 8 November 1991 in Tallinn. The BA is a consultative cooperation organisation of the parliaments of the three Baltic States which discusses issues of mutual interest in the Baltic region. The positions of the Assembly are presented to the parliaments and the governments of the Baltic states, as well as to international and regional organisations in the form of communications, proposals and recommendations.
The BA has cooperation agreements with the Nordic Council of Ministers, Benelux Parliament, and GUAM Parliamentary Assembly. There is also cooperation going on with other regional parliamentary organisations.
The work formats of the Assembly are sessions, meetings of the Presidium, parliamentary seminars of the Committees, and conferences and round tables. The Presidium meets up to six times a year, the Committees hold up to two parliamentary seminars a year. The Session of the Baltic Assembly takes place once a year, usually in the presiding country. The meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM) is also held during the Session. The joint meeting of the BA and the BCM is called the Baltic Council. The Session is the culmination of the year’s work, where the activities of the past year are summed up and the next presidency presents its priorities.
The work of the Presidium is directed by the President and two Vice Presidents. The President is elected during the Session from the presidency country. Presidency lasts for one year and is held on the principle of rotation. The 2019 presidency country was Latvia, and the 2021 presidency country will be Lithuania. The work of the BA is coordinated by the Secretariat, which is located in Riga.
In 2020, both the BA and the BCM is presided over by Estonia. Estonia supports initiatives that bring practical benefits to the region, and focuses its attention as the presidency country on the following priorities:
- Baltic partnership in defence and security
- developing energy and transport connections
- regional networks in research and education
Baltic unity is important because joint action allows us to solve major challenges as well as to represent and protect the interest of the region as a whole. The focus of cooperation in the BA and the BCM is on regional security, cyber security, regional connections (energy, transport, digital solutions), climate and environmental topics, culture, and health care. The BA pays particular attention to multidisciplinary fields, such as the organisation of culture, ecological footprint, waste management, and hydrogen technologies. The goal of Baltic cooperation is to find common solutions while respecting the national interests of each country.
Five committees have been formed for the Baltic parliamentary cooperation:
- Security and Defence Committee
- Economics, Energy and Innovation Committee
- Natural Resources and Environment Committee
- Welfare Committee
- Education, Science and Culture Committee
Increasing of agricultural supports, improving the teaching of history in schools, monitoring the preservation of cultural heritage, project of the wholesale purchase of medicinal products, providing of cross-border emergency medical service, equalisation of fishing quotas, publishing of multilingual dictionary, etc. can be considered the greatest achievements of the BA committees.
The work of the BA is coordinated by the Secretariat which is located in Riga.
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