Swedish and Finnish Prime Ministers call for Common Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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Speaking at the 9th Baltic Development Forum Summit in Tallinn, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called for the countries of the region to unite and support regional strategy on environment, climate, and integration. The Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced that the Swedish government intends to launch an EU Baltic Sea Strategy during their EU Presidency in 2009. It will include improved cross border infrastructure, cooperation on R&D, innovation and cluster development, which are all areas that will spearhead further integration of the internal market.

-It is very encouraging that the Swedish government will pursue a comprehensive Baltic Sea Region strategy during their upcoming EU-chairmanship 2009, says Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Chairman of Baltic Development Forum in his concluding remarks at the end of the Summit in Tallinn Tuesday.

Among its many sessions devoted to business, competitiveness and innovation, the Summit held a high-level session on climate and energy. It addressed the question how to turn challenges into opportunities. The Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, underlined the need for a common Baltic Sea Region strategy on energy and climate issues. The EU Commissioner on energy, Andris Piebalgs and the Fortum President and CEO Mikael Lilius, came out with strong support for this.

We see an important role for the Baltic Development Forum to complement the Swedish EU-presidency agenda as well as the UN Climate Summit to be held in Copenhagen in 2009, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen said in his concluding remarks.

The Summit also featured an executive panel with Hans Enocson, National Executive for the Nordic Region, General Electric, the President and CEO of Swedbank Group, Jan Lidén, Börge Diedrichsen, Vice President NovoNordisk and Valdo Randpere, General Manager IBM Estonia. They concluded that further market integration is essential in order to enable companies to tap into the many existing qualities of the Baltic Sea Region.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs in Estonia, Urmas Paet, addressed the Summit in the closing session. He underlined the importance of a global approach to the regional challenges such as the energy security, and called for openness and further integration as the region moves towards implementation of its strategic objectives.

The energy theme will be high on the agenda at the Baltic Development Forum’s next Summit in 2008 which, most likely, will take place in Copenhagen.

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