Viešėdamas Didžioje Britanijoje, kadenciją baigęs prezidentas Valdas Adamkus dalyvavo Kembridžo universiteto Baltijos šalių bendruomenių surengtoje konferencijoje „The Cambridge Baltic Conference“. Šios konferencijos tikslas – naujų tikslų ir iššūkių Baltijos šalims paieškos, dabartinių įžvalgų dalijimasis, bendradarbiavimo tarp Baltijos šalių galimybių skatinimas, siekis sudominti tarptautinę bendriją Baltijos šalių problematika. Kartu su Prezidentu V. Adamkumi, renginyje taip pat dalyvavo ir pranešimus skaitė prof. Richard Mole (University College London), Europos Komisijos viceprezidentas Siim Kallas (Estija), „The Economist“ tarptautinis redaktorius Edwardas Lucas, buvęs Latvijos švietimo ministras dr. Robertas Kilis, ES Pirmininko patarėjas Arnoldas Pranckevičius.
Prezidento Valdo Adamkaus kalba Kembridžo konferencijoje
Cambridge Baltic Conference 2013
12th October 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the organisers of the first Cambridge Baltic Conference for the invitation and opportunity to address young and experienced experts in politics, economy, science that have met here to discuss the Baltic states – their joint past and successful transformation, today’s achievements and challenges as well as future possibilities.
Almost twenty years ago, the Heads of the Governments of the Baltic States established the Baltic Council of Ministers. There is a good tradition to hold regular meetings of the Presidents of the Baltic States, and the Speakers of the Parliaments meet in the Baltic Assembly.
Many other formal and informal meetings at different levels are held as well.
Today it is quite obvious that common coordinated actions of our three countries enhance the efficiency of their activities in the institutions of the EU and also reinforce their competitive place on the global stage. The implementation of big infrastructural projects, the protection of environment, the development of a joint transnational innovation programme, common interests on foreign policy issues would not be possible without close cooperation of all 3.
It is also very important that the Baltic States together maintain strong relations with other countries of the region. The cooperation with the Nordic countries is developed in the framework of NB8 format that today becomes a more significant player. Assisting in government reforms, capacity building, as well as defence, education, social and many other areas, the Nordic countries also have been,
and remain, main investors and significant trade partners to their Baltic neighbours.
Another form of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region is the e-PINE initiative (“Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe”). This is the renewed policy of USA in the Northern Europe in the format of Baltic and Nordic countries + USA seen as an important supplementary framework of cooperation for strengthening the transatlantic link and promoting the extension of the zone of security, stability and prosperity within the region and beyond.
Common historical experience and similar geopolitical situation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia determine community of their foreign policy. Leaders of the three Baltic States exchange their opinions regularly and coordinate positions on vast number of issues on trilateral as well as EU and NATO agendas such as military cooperation, energy security, trade relations, environment protection, cultural exchange and other.
We seek to find common denominator among Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian positions and thus to speak one voice within the international community.
It was reaffirmed just recently, at the end of August, when our three Presidents met with US President B. Obama to stress once again the importance of the strategic partnership of our trio as well as to reflect shared values, strong ties and commitments to our closest international allies in promoting the rule of law and respect for universal rights, civil liberties and human dignity of all individuals.
It is recorded in the Joint Statement of this meeting that “In the last two decades, the Baltic states have undertaken impressive democratic transitions, and they now demonstrate leadership in promoting democracy and human rights and strengthening civil society in the countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, as well as through development assistance to other nations undergoing transition.
We will seek opportunities to expand upon these efforts – together, and also with like-minded countries in the region – so the Baltic states can share their successful transition experiences with emerging democracies around the world”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Currently Lithuania is holding presidency of the Council of the European Union. Latvian presidency of the Council of the EU will start in 2015 and Estonian presidency – in 2018. That means better visibility of the Baltic States in the EU and in the world at least for five years and also gives a good opportunity for stronger cooperation among three Baltic States.
The priority spheres of Lithuanian Presidency include energy security, the Eastern Partnership, strengthening of EU’s external borders and effective implementation of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
And all of these priorities definitely require interaction and cooperation with our closest neighbours.
One of the main priorities of Lithuanian presidency of the Council of the EU is Eastern Partnership initiative that includes six EU‘s Eastern neighbours – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It is deep in our foreign policy interests to see Europe‘s neighbouring countries in the East on the way of closer political association and deeper economic integration with the EU. We believe that only final transformation of our neighbours into sustainable democracies and market economies is the most solid guarantee of stability and security on EU borders.
And we believe that Eastern Partnership policy already has helped to achieve a lot in that direction.
Now we have less than two months left until the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius which is already labelled as a “Summit of opportunities and concrete results” or “Summit of deliverables”. Indeed, we hope in Vilnius we will be able to sign the Association Agreements (including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) with Ukraine, to initial respective agreements with Georgia and Moldova, to mark the progress in association negotiations with Azerbaijan, to welcome the progress on visa liberalisation tracks. We believe that these agreements – once implemented – will rapidly produce tangible results in terms of increased investment and trade opportunities, strengthened economic, social, cultural and human connections, increased welfare and security on both sides of the Eastern EU border. With regard to Armenia – while looking for the modified forms of cooperation under the new circumstances [decision to join Customs Union], we must not rush and be very careful about the impact for other Eastern Partners in order to avoid „domino effect”.
As we recently observe quite obviously, some other regional players project alternative integration systems. While we respect the right of our partners to choose freely the system they want to belong to, we find the threats and the pressure some of the partners face at the moment totally unacceptable.
Let’s admit – Russia can use not only sticks but some kind of carrots as well – cheap gas, financial incentives, access to the market, while we require painful reforms and fulfilling a number of criteria and conditions. Therefore, we need to adequately support the implementation of AAs/DCFTAs in 2014-2020. An active public information campaign on long-term benefits of these agreements is very important as well.
This entire situation clearly demonstrates that a constant political attention and proactive approach of EU are needed if we want to achieve most of the projected goals for Eastern Partnership. And I strongly believe that joint efforts and sharing successful experience of democratic transition and economic transformation of the Baltic States can help our Eastern neighbours stand firmly on their chosen path towards political association and economic integration with EU.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This conference, jointly organised by Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Cambridge University Societies is clearly another example of our positive cooperation.
Since restoration of the independence we have achieved a lot. We have gained certain expertise and knowledge that, I am confident, can be valuable and provide inspiration to others as well.
Therefore I wish all of us today to have fruitful discussions and come up with fresh ideas and insights. Thank you for your attention.
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