At the video conference today, the Speakers of the parliaments of the eight countries belonging to the Nordic-Baltic cooperation format NB8 underlined the need for closer parliamentary cooperation in planning the abolishing of restrictions established to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The situation and the measures implemented nationally differ by countries, but the participants of the video conference spoke of the stabilisation of the situation, and also said that their countries remained cautious in mitigating the restrictions. They were still hopeful that the restrictions would be reduced in May, so that it would be possible to return step-by-step to the normal way of life as before the spread of the virus.
President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Henn Põlluaas emphasised the need to deepen the exchange of information and cooperation between countries and parliaments in coordinating the strategies of exiting the crisis. “We all live in the same world, and each decision we make has an impact on our neighbours, economy, the movement of our people and their working in the neighbouring countries,” he said.
Põlluaas pointed out that regional cooperation was essential for all countries in order to make exiting the crisis as fast and smooth as possible. All other Speakers participating in the conference agreed with him.
The Speakers of the eight parliaments also exchanged experience in organising the teleworking of parliaments and spoke about the possibility of holding electronic sittings in national parliaments. The importance of democracy in the times of crisis, the need for debate and preserving capability to work in all situations were underlined. Further cooperation, next meetings and possible mutual visits in the future were discussed as well.
The Nordic-Baltic cooperation format NB8 has been bringing the five Nordic Countries and the three Baltic States (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) together since 1992. This year, Estonia is the coordinator of NB8.
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