The Baltic Assembly
The Baltic Assembly (BA) is an inter-parliamentary cooperation organisation of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Latvia is represented in the BA by 14 Members of the Saeima.
The BA was established on 8 November 1991. The BA is a coordinating and consultative organisation with the right to express its opinion to national parliaments, governments and the Baltic Council of Ministers in the form of resolutions, decisions, declarations and recommendations; it can also request answers from these institutions on activities addressing cross-border issues that are on the BA agenda. The rotating Presidency of the BA is coordinated with the respective Presidency in the Baltic Council of Ministers.
Each national parliament may delegate 12 to 16 MPs to the BA. The composition of each national delegation is based on the principle of proportional political representation.
The work of the BA is headed by its Presidium. The BA has five standing committees:
- The Economics, Energy and Innovation Committee;
- The Education, Science and Culture Committee;
- The Health, Welfare and Family Committee;
- The Natural Resources and Environment Committee; and
- The Security and Defence Committee.
The priorities of the committees’ work for each year are approved at the Session of the BA and coordinated with the Baltic Council of Ministers. The set priorities reflect topical developments in the Baltic States. The BA works closely with the standing committees of the national parliaments of the Baltic States.
Each year, the Presidium and committees of the BA, pursuant to the set priorities, examine a wide range of matters, including a close scrutiny of the national governments’ work in implementing BA decisions.
The work of the BA continues to bring many tangible results that benefit the three nations, such as:
- Joint vaccine procurements;
- Automatic recognition of higher education diplomas;
- The establishment of the Baltic Culture Fund;
- Translation of works of the BA Prize winners for literature into the three national languages.
Another important item on the agenda of the BA is the parliamentary supervision of the implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects, e.g.:
- The development of the RailBaltica railway;
- The synchronization of the Baltic electricity networks with the continental European network;
- The development of a regional gas market;
- Cooperation in the field of renewable energy.
The Baltic Assembly Prize is a joint Baltic parliamentary award introduced in 1994. The prize is awarded for outstanding performance in literature, the arts and science.
The Prize aims to:
- Demonstrate the common interests of the countries in this region in upholding their national identity and self-esteem;
- Create an opportunity to learn about the achievements of the neighbouring countries; maintain a continuous interest among the people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania about developments in the Baltic States;
- Strengthen cooperation among the Baltic States in the fields of literature, the arts and science;
- Promote interest about the intellectual values and languages of the Baltic nations; and
- Raise the standard of literature, the arts and science in the Baltic States.
In 2011, a fourth category, The Baltic Innovation Prize, was introduced by the Baltic Assembly in collaboration with the Baltic Association of Science/Technology Parks and Innovation Centres (BASTIC); the Prize is awarded to the most innovative Baltic enterprises.
The Medal of the Baltic Assembly is an award of the Baltic Assembly for upholding the unity and cooperation of the Baltic States, outstanding contribution and cooperation in implementing joint cooperation projects, and promoting regional cooperation in an enlarged Europe.