Today, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Henn Põlluaas participated in a video conference with the Speakers of the Baltic and Nordic parliaments. On the initiative of Finland, prevention of extremism, and cyber security, threats to democracy and rule of law in the region and in Europe, as well as the situation in Belarus were discussed.
Põlluaas said that Russia was the greatest threat to the security and stability of the Baltic Sea region, and this applied also to Belarus. “It is important to coordinate common policy with the partners with whom we share similar threat assessment regarding the security of our region,” he added.
Põlluaas thinks that it is important to improve the security of ports, including rapid and effective identification of the people boarding the ships, in the cooperation between the Baltic States and the Nordic Countries. “It is urgently necessary to use identification systems that could identify persons on the basis of biometric data,” Põlluaas said.
Speaking of cyber security, Põlluaas emphasised the excellent regional cooperation in cyber sector. “I am happy to admit that a common opinion of cyber stability prevails in our region,” Põlluaas said. “The activities in cyber space are becoming increasingly relevant, we are concerned about the spread of violent extremism and disinformation, and therefore it is important to understand that international law has to apply also in the cyber sector.”
Regarding the threats to rule of law, Põlluaas pointed out that as members of the European Union, we had to listen to each other and to reach agreements through discussions, and not punish our allies because this would bring along more problems than solutions.
The participants also condemned the situation in Belarus and the challenges it caused to further activities of states in supporting the development of democracy and civil society in Belarus. It was found that real steps should be taken, not just express moral support in words.
Põlluaas said that the situation in Belarus showed no signs of improvement and therefore he considered it necessary to impose additional sanctions on the leading figures of Belarus and to keep the issue constantly on the agenda of international organisations.
The Speakers of the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian parliaments also gave an overview of the current political situation in their countries, most important legislative issues, and the changes in the organisation of work and restrictions in force in their countries due to the coronavirus. All speakers of national parliaments underlined that the restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus had to be taken seriously in order to prevent the total lockdown of countries
Photos of the video conference (Erik Peinar, Riigikogu)
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