Reykjavik, 25 October — At the meeting of Prime Ministers from the Baltic and Nordic countries that closed late last night in Reykjavik, the heads of their respective governments expressed hope that the summit scheduled to take place in London next Thursday will enable discussion to take place in an open and unofficial atmosphere, which will allow for member states to better understand the choices Europe is facing. The Prime Ministers are of the opinion that such discussions will provide favourable ground for solving problems in the future, particularly for reaching an agreement on the financial perspective as soon as December of this year.
According to the Prime Ministers of the Nordic and Baltic region, which are characterised by strong and stable economies, reform of the economy and labour markets are required to ensure for all citizens a decent standard of living now and in the future. Europe is challenged by an aging population and globalisation — the solutions are openness, not isolation and protectionism. Thus, the Prime Ministers expressed their support for the Presidency’s call for the opening of internal markets and services, for a more open foreign trade policy and the development of a common energy policy.
However, the Prime Ministers did not agree with the opinion that a common social model can be established for the member states of the European Union. “Each European Union member state must develop a suitable model for themselves that takes into account its neighbours’ best experiences. It is useful to learn from each other; but it is diversity that characterises the European Union and has secured for the Community the support of its citizens,” said Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. The Prime Minister added that many of the reforms for developing the European Union in its entirety have to be implemented by each state itself.
The Baltic and Nordic Prime Ministers expressed their support to Estonia concerning the Estonian–Russian boundary agreement at yesterday’s meeting. They also emphasised the need for common and uniform foreign and security policies to ensure better protection of the interests of all member states. All Prime Ministers affirmed the long-term goal to have democratic Russia as their cooperation partner.
The meeting also stressed the success of the enlargement of the European Union so far. The prevailing opinion was that enlargement helped to maintain reform efforts in the neighbouring countries.
Within the framework of the meeting, the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a common letter to Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the UK, currently holding the EU Presidency, in which they considered it necessary to reach an agreement on the financial perspective by the end of December. The Baltic Prime Ministers stressed the need to maintain 4% of GDP as the limit for structural provisions and account for the speed of the economic growth of each country separately.
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