Parliamentary Cooperation of the Baltic Countries – Formation and Possible Prospects for the Near Future
The main aims of Baltic cooperation in the years 1918–1940 and 1989–1991 were to establish a union engaged in security and foreign policy matters. During the first period, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark were viewed as partners in addition to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Since 1989, only the three Baltic countries are included in the cooperation.
The Baltic Assembly, established in 1991, is a consultative and coordinating parliamentary organization, focused on discussing matters from very different fields of life. However, great attention has been paid to the foreign and security matters. The Baltic Assembly has undergone several institutional changes: the number of units, their competence, membership and the operating procedures have been changed and supplemented. The main functions of the Baltic Assembly are: concentrating on and emphasizing the joint interests, recruiting participants to the international political system and forwarding information.
Changes made in the framework of the reforms of Baltic cooperation (2003–2004) have raised the effectiveness of the cooperation and helped to optimize the economic and human resources involved in the activities.
The importance of the Baltic Assembly in the near future could be seen in the following functions: a) emphasizing and concentrating on common interests (to defend and coordinate the joint interests, to introduce them to other international actors and to draw the attention of other international actors to the specific problems of the Baltic states), b) forwarding information (to defend common interests and coordinate common activities), c) promoting the socializing process, which can proceed from the tightened cooperation with deeply integrated Nordic and Benelux models, d) recruiting new participants to the international system (the organization performs this function by being an example for other countries).’